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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New Release: 2018 BBM Rookie Edition

The annual rookie edition is on the shelves, with exactly what you expect, plus a secret or twelve.

When it comes to.. um.. all of BBM's sets, there's a specific formula at play. New year, new players, same formula. They tweak some stuff here or there, but there aren't many surprises.

Rookie Edition really takes that to the extreme. You'll see what I mean.
 As long as I can remember (forever?), BBM has used simple portrait shots of the drafted players in their teams' uniforms on the front. A team color background and geometric shape fill most of the space, with the usual information taking up the rest. I think NPB Card Guy once suggested getting photos of the players from their prior teams - high school, college, or independent leagues - which I think would be really nice.

Many of the base cards can be found in various parallels. There's no set rule per team for this, though it's always the first several draft picks for any given team.

First Round Pick players have a photo variation, called a "Secret" version, which just seems to be a different pose with the same basic card style. I think it's quite unimaginative and a missed opportunity (again, prior action photos would be great here, or perhaps some other type of photo could be arranged).

First Round Pick players have parallels in the following tiers:

  • Silver Foil Signature #/100
  • Gold Foil Signature #/50
  • Silver Foilboard #/25
  • Red Foil Signature #/10
  • Sky Blue Foil Signature #1/1
Several of the other players also have the silver signature and gold signature parallels.

Cards #1-114 are regular base cards.

 The one subset always found in Rookie Edition is the one with the retired players. This year, it's Early Days, with plenty of old baseball players. Cards #115-126 (12 cards, one per team) are Early Days cards, and I think Shimazaki might be the best card in the set - Astros-inspired Fighters uniform, cheap-looking hat that reminds me of something a trucker would find at a rest stop for $5, and that thin, silly mustache. Sorry Takeshi, it's just such a dated picture that it's hilarious. (That said, I would be very happy to have one of those jerseys in my collection.)

BBM went with the tried-and-true pair of inserts for Rookie Edition, too:
 Rookie of the Year highlights the two players, one in each league, who won that award. I had no problem getting Genda at a good price, despite winning the award last year - that doesn't seem very promising for him down the road.
And Next Generation is the usual 12-card, one-per-team insert without any real meaning to its existence other than to be something shiny and rare. BBM didn't publish any details about parallels to this insert set, and I don't believe they usually make parallels for the insert sets in Rookie Edition.

Moving on to the autographs, BBM didn't post any preview images on their website or Facebook. (All the images above are my scans.) Since I don't have any autos myself, let's see what's on the interwebs...
The title of this set is quite odd - Glory of the First Place Draft Pick, or something to that point. I shall call it First Round Draft Autographs. Between one and four players per team, for a total of 23 cards, appear in this set. Print runs are between 10 and 60 copies each.

It seems there is a Special First Round Draft Autographs set, with the 12 First Round Draft Pick players, numbered to 30 copies each.
 Sixteen players are in the Early Days autograph set - some of the players weren't in the base set, and some of the base set players aren't in this set. Print runs are either 30, 60, or 90 cards.
Fifteen players appear in the Prospects autographed set. Most players have print runs of 30 cards, while a couple have 20 and one has 60. Not all teams are represented here, and the Hawks have five cards in the set.

Finally, BBM announced Rookie Signatures autographs for all 114 players. These are 1/1 autographs on those special paperboard cards, and are available via exchange cards found in packs.


  1. I was watching a YouTube video of a box opening and the guy pulled a Sky Blue Foil Signature card. Pretty cool!

    1. A big hit, for sure, especially if the guy turns out to be popular. But boring in terms of the actual set, like Bowman in the 2000s!

  2. I'm with you on that Astros-inspired Fighters. If they ever create retro replica jerseys like that one, I'll be all over it.

    1. I'm sure there are replica jerseys somewhere, it's just a matter of finding them. The Fighters did some sort of jersey giveaway and they had something similar, but not quite the same style. I do have that jersey, but it's really no comparison to what you see here.