Saturday, September 11, 2021

2021 BBM Dragons History 1936-2021

BBM issued the latest in their OB team set "History" series a few weeks ago.  This one is called "Dragons History 1936-2021" and is the third is in the series following last year's "Carp History 1950-2020" and "Giants History 1934-2020".  This set is basically celebrating the team's 85th Anniversary, making it the fourth Anniversary set for the team following the 70th in 2006, the 75th in 2011 and the 80th in 2016.

I really like this set.  It helps that I'm a Dragons fan but the "History" sets have been really attractive and this one is no different.  It especially helps to make up for the lousy 80th Anniversary set that BBM basically phoned in five years ago.

Like the two previous "History" set, the base set for this set has 90 cards that are split into three parts.  The first is a six card "Dragons History" subset.  Each card features a 12 to 17 year span of the team's history.  The backs list the team's finish and who the manager was.  Card #01 covers 1936-48, Card #02 covers 1949-64, Card #03 covers 1965-1977, Card #04 covers #1978-1991, Card #05 covers #1992-2003 and Card #06 covers 2004-2020.  Here's the 1949-64 card showing the 1954 Nippon Series Champions:


The bulk of the set is reserved for the OB players.  There are 72 cards representing former Dragons players.  I'm pretty sure everyone included in the set is retired - I don't think any of the players are active but playing for other teams.  As we've come to expect from this kind of set, most of the players included are from the 1970's and later.  There's only three players from before 1960 in the set, the most significant being Shigeru Sugishita who turns 96 next week and autographed cards for the set.  Some of the other players included are Morimichi Takagi, Seinchi Hoshino, Kenichi Yazawa, Eiji Bandoh, Hiroshi Gondoh, Yasushi Tao, Yasunori Ohshima, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, Genji Kaku, Motonobu Tanishige, Kenshin Kawakami and Masahiko Morino.  The only foreign player included is Alonzo Powell (who's currently a coach for the team).

There's a handful of players who aren't in the set.  It really wasn't a surprise that Hiromitsu Ochiai's not in the set since he hasn't been on a baseball card in 10 years now (although if you squint you can almost make him out in the photo of the 2011 Central League champs on card #06) but I was surprised that both Shinichi Etoh and Michio Nishizawa were not in the set.  Shunichi Amachi (manager of the 1954 champs), Toru Mori, Yasuaki Taihoh and Kaname "Wally" Yonamine were others that I was a little surprised to not see.  There's a couple gaijin like Tyrone Woods, Gene Martin and Leo Gomez who were in the earlier Anniversary sets but not this one.

The cards themselves are beautiful.  The design of the cards is very similar to the two previous "History" sets and BBM continues to dig up new and interesting photos for the players.  Most of the photos are in color - there's only four cards in black and white.  Here's a bunch of examples:









The photo on Iwase's card shows him celebrating the combined perfect game he and Daisuke Yamai threw against the Fighters in the 2007 Nippon Series.  The combined perfect game that won the first Championship for the Dragons since 1954.

The remaining 12 cards in the base set feature members of the 2021 Dragons.  The cards use the same design as the OB cards except that they have a blueish tint on their backgrounds.  This subset includes pretty much who you'd expect including Yudai Ohno, Yota Kyota, Shuhei Ohshima, Shuhei Takahashi, Dayan Viciedo, Ryosuke Hirata and Kosuke Fukudome:


In addition to the base set, I also picked up two of the insert sets - "Dream Team" and "Team Records".

The 12 card "Dream Team" set features an All Time Great lineup for the Dragons, including both a right handed and left handed starting pitcher along with a relief pitcher and a manager.  You can probably nitpick the choices at any of the positions - my biggest challenge would be Senichi Hoshino as manager.  No offense to him, but Hiromitsu Ochiai is the best manager in Dragons history.  But the insert set doesn't include anyone not in the base set.  The set does include two active players - Yohei Ohshima and Kosuke Fukudome.


The "Team Records" set contains nine cards showing the Dragons career leaders in a number (well, nine, actually) of statistical categories.  Actually that's not quite true.  No player is shown more than once so there's four times when the second place player for a category is shown instead.  For example, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami is the Dragons career leader in hits, games played and RBIs.  He's on the card for most hits but the second place player for games played (Morimichi Takagi) and RBIs (Kenichi Yazawa) is shown instead.  It's a little odd but the cards are good looking.


As always, you can see all the cards (including the inserts) over at Jambalaya.

If like me you like the "History" sets and want to see more of them, you're in luck.  BBM is releasing one for the Marines next week and for the Tigers in October.  I suspect there will be even more in the future.

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