2022 BBM Fusion Set SummarySize: 144 cards numbered 1-99, TH01-TH24, 601-620, 88
Cards Per Team: Variable
Team Card Theme: N/A
Number Of Leader Cards: 24
Subsets: 1st Version Update (20), Dancing Heroine Update (1)
Inserts: First Pitch Ceremony (29), Great Record (24), Legendary Player (12), Treasure (12, #'d to 25), Esperanza (24, #'d to 50)
Memorabilia Cards: There are four different types of autographed card available - "Team Pack Version" (cards in the style of the format for the autograph cards in the player's team set), "Autograph", "Cross Sign" and "Picturesque". There are two versions of autographed cards for the "First Pitch Ceremony" cards as well - the "silver paper" version is the more rare of the two.
Parallels: 12 regular player cards and one of the "First Pitch Ceremony" cards have a "secret" alternate photo version. "Title Holder" cards have four parallels - "silver paper" (#'d to 200), "gold paper" (#'d to 100), "silver paper + holo PP" (#'d to 50) and "gold paper + holo PP" (#'d to 25). "Great Record" insert cards have two facsimile signature parallels - "gold" (#'d to 100) and "pink" (#'d to 50). "Legendary Player" insert cards have two parallels - "gold" (#'d to 100) and "pink" (#'d to 50). "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards have five parallels - "Holo PP" (#'d to 300), "Silver Paper" (#'d to 200), "Gold Paper" (#'d to 100), "Silver Paper + Holo PP" (#'d to 50) and "Gold Paper + Holo PP" (#'d to 25).
Notable Rookies: Satoshi Miyamori
The 2022 edition of BBM's Fusion set was released a couple weeks ago in the last week of November. This is traditionally BBM's final baseball set of the year although this year the Glory Neo set was released after it.
Fusion is a complicated set. It's basically a combination season summary and update set although it also has a major OB player component. In the past the base set has been made up of four subsets that were all separately numbered - the "regular" cards, the "Title Holder" cards, the "1st Version Update" cards and the "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards. For the second year in a row the "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards are short-printed (so I listed them with the insert cards) but BBM added an additional card that's an update to the "Dancing Heroine -Mai" set so again the base set has four completely separate numbering schemes.
This is the seventh year that BBM has done the Fusion set and I still find it difficult to explain how the "regular" cards work. You can think of the "regular" cards as being divided up into groups of two or three cards. The first card in each group commemorates some accomplishment that an active player did during the 2022 regular season. The other cards in the group commemorate a similar event (or events) that some player(s) (either active or OB) did in a previous season.
This may make more sense with an example. On April 10th this year, Roki Sasaki pitched the first regular season perfect game in NPB since 1994. Card #16 commemorates this event. The following card, #17, features Hiromi Makihara pitching that perfect game on May 18th, 1994:
48 of the 99 "regular" cards feature events from the 2022 season. As usual I don't know what many of these events are but I know all the no-hitters are covered - in addition to Sasaki there are cards for Nao Higashihama, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Shota Imanaga and Cody Ponce. Several of the near no-hitters are also covered including Yudai Ohno and Ren Mukunoki. I should mention that Sasaki's perfect game actually rated two separate cards - one for the perfect game and the other for the 19 strikeouts. Other events include Chusei Mannami getting the only hit in Sasaki's next start after his perfect game and Koji Chikamoto's 30 game hitting streak. Munetaka Murakami has three cards - one for his five home runs in two games, one for his 56 homes runs and one for his Triple Crown. Other 2022 players include Tomoyuki Sugano, Hotaka Yamakawa, Kodai Senga, Koyo Aoyagi and Ryosuke Kikuchi. There's two pitchers shown batting - Yasuhiro Ogawa and Masato Morishita - and a couple players depicted in alternate uniforms. Curiously Ponce is the only foreign player included in the regular cards. Unlike all of BBM's other sets, the 48 cards are not split evenly between the 12 teams - the Marines, Fighters and Swallows each have six cards while the Baystars only have one. 12 of these cards have short printed photo variants called "Secret" versions although I didn't get any of them with my set. Here's some examples:
Almost every player that has a "regular" card for something done prior to 2022 is an OB player - I think Shinnosuke Ogasawara and Yuki Nishi are the only active players included. The OB players include Sadaharu Oh, Nobuhiro Matsunaka, Koichi Tabuchi, Isao Harimoto, Masayuki Kakefu, Yoshihiko Takahashi, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Koji Akiyama, Masaaki Koyama and Tsutomu Itoh. I think Hiromi Makihara is the only player with more than one card. I'm kind of impressed with a lot of the photos that BBM used for the OB players - there's no black and white photos at all and a lot of the older photos look really good - BBM probably did a bunch of processing on them. I was also impressed that they found a photo of Masaaki Koyama with the Taiyo Whales - he was the team's pitching coach in 1973 but ended up pitching in 15 games for them that year. Here's some examples:
The Title Holder cards are a throwback to the Leader cards BBM used to include in their flagship sets between 1991 and 2013. There are a total of 24 cards (numbered TH01 to TH24) that include the leader (or leaders) in twelve statistical categories for each league - Batting Average, Home Runs, RBIs, Hits, OBP, Stolen Bases, ERA, Winning Percentage, Wins, Saves, Hold Points and Strikeouts. If a player leads the league in multiple categories then he has multiple cards in this subset - for example, Munetaka Murakami has four cards since he led the CL in Batting Average, Home Runs, RBIs and OBP. Yoshinobu Yamamoto also has four cards and Koyo Aoyagi has three. If more than one player tie for the lead in a category they all appear on the card. There are three cards that show multiple players this year.
The "1st Version Update" subset features 20 players who did not appear in either the 1st Version set or the "1st Version Update" subset from the 2nd Version set (although one player - Kenshin Hotta - did have a "regular" 2nd Version card). There's a couple players who were traded for each other (Shunta Gotoh and Ryota Ishioka), some late signing foreign players (Roberto Osuna, Pedro Revilla, Conner Menez, Joe McCarthy and Patrick Kivlehan) and players returning to NPB after playing in MLB (Shogo Akiyama) or the Nihonkai Ocean League (Ryo Akiyoshi). Most of the players though started the year as development players and got signed to the 70 man roster during the season. One of the players - Satoshi Miyamori of the Eagles - was a 2021 draftee and his card should have had the "rookie" icon on it but it doesn't. The cards are numbered 601 to 620 in continuation of the 1st and 2nd Version sets. Here's a couple example cards:
I mentioned earlier that BBM had included a card that's an update to the "Dancing Heroine - Mai" cheerleader/dance squad set. The card is for Arisa Hamano of the Fighters Girls and shows her decked out with the "Fox Dance" paraphernalia - this season the Fighters Girls regularly did a dance routine on the song "What Does The Fox Say". The card is numbered 88 in continuation of the 87 card base set for the "Dancing Heroine - Mai" set. Hamano appears in the "Dancing Heroine - Hana" set without the "Fox Dance" stuff.
I picked up the "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards with the set I bought even though they were short printed - the set ran me probably $30 more because of it. I'm not entirely sure that it was worth it but it's always kind of interesting trying to figure out who all these people are. If you're not familiar with this subset, it features various Japanese celebrities throwing out the first pitch at a ballgame. The 29 celebrities include a bunch of voice actors - Sayuri Date, Naki Misaki, Shu Uchida, Mayu Sagara, Rei Matsuzaki and Sora Tokui - and several actors/actresses - Anna Yamada, Yui Okada, Yuuka Suzuki, Fumiya Takahashi, Akane Ikeda, Tomokazu Miura, Sei Matobu and Mario Kuroba. There's also several Idols - Ourin, Saria Seira, Saya Kanagawa, Hohomi Nasu and Chihiro Kawakami - along with a "Race Queen" (Miyabi Kondou), a kabuki actor (Matsuya Onoe), a TV announcer (Misato Ugaki), a "social media personality" (Naenano), a comedian (Hiroiki Ariyoshi), a volleyball player (Maiko Kano), a figure skater (Wakaba Higuchi), two singers (Keiko Masuda of "Pink Lady" and Daigo) and an ichthyologist (Masayuki Miyazawa aka "Sakana-kun"). At least two of these people were in earlier "Ceremonial First Pitch" subsets - Wakada Higuchi was in the 2018 2nd Version set and Mario Kuroba was in the 2019 Fusion set (there may be more but I didn't get the short printed subset in the 2021 Fusion set). The cards are numbered FP27 to FP55 since this is a continuation of the "Ceremonial First Pitch" subset from this year's 2nd Version set. Here's the card of Sakana-kun:
BBM did a "Secret" version of Saya Kanagawa's card - the rarer version shows her doing the "Fox Dance". I guess if you wanted to get technical about it, she's not throwing out the first pitch in that instance as the "Fox Dance" was done between innings. Sei Matobu's card shows her doing the "Fox Dance" as well but there's no other version of it. Here's the regular and "Secret" versions of Kanagawa's card:
|#FP44 regular (left) and "Secret" (right)|
The Fusion set traditionally has two non-premium insert sets and I picked up both of them with my set. The less interesting one (to me anyway) is the "Legendary Player" insert set which features 12 OB players - one from each team (with Kintetsu represented in place of Rakuten). Each player also has a "regular" card although it may not be for the same team. For example, Isao Harimoto appears as a Toei Flyer in the regular set but is a Lotte Orion in this inset set:
The more interesting insert set (and the reason I pick these up every year) is called "Great Records". This is a 24 card set that features two players from each team who achieved some milestone during the 2022 season. Actually I say "players" but there's two cards for non-players - Chiba Lotte Marines stadium announcer Emi Taniho announced her 2000th game in July and Swallows mascot Tsubakurou performed in his (its?) 2000th game in August. Other milestones commemorated include Takeya Nakamura's 450th home run, Hideto Asamura and Tetsuto Yamada's 250th home runs, Toshiro Miyazaki and Kensuke Kondoh's 1000th hits, Takehiro Norimoto's 100th win and Yasuaki Yamasaki and Yoshihisa Hirano's 200th save. I only have one real gripe about the cards - they're shiny with white text on a silver background and can be extremely difficult to read. And the scans look even worse - these are the card for Nakamura and Emi Taniho:
Separately from the set I picked up I came across someone selling an Eiji Bando autographed card from this set on Ebay for $20-ish so I picked it up. This is one of the rare times I can show off an autographed card when I'm doing a write up on a set:
As always all the cards from the set can be seen over at Jambalaya.
I guess Fusion is a good name for it as it is pieces of several sets all fused together. And it's a better name than BBM Year-End Housekeeping Edition.
BBM Everything But The Kitchen Sink Set
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