Wednesday, November 9, 2016

1998 East Series BBM Sumo Wrestling Set

The 1998 East Series set marked BBM's second year effort in the sumo card business as well as their second year of producing two annual sets.  The 1998 East Series set represents the 1998 Hatsu basho or 1998 New Year's tournament.  Like the 1997 set, this set is printed on high-gloss, high-quality card stock and each card measures approximately 2.75" x 3.5".   Cards came in packs of 8 with 30 packs per box.  This 218-card set is broken up into 9 subsets as follows:

#1-106 - Active Wrestlers
#107-144 - Toshiyori (Sumo Elders)
#145-153 - 1997 Winners
#154-163 - Yokozuna in Showa Era - Series 2
#164-174 - Top 10 Kinboshi Winners
#175-189 - Maegashira Bashi Winners after World War 2
#190-191 - Sumo Museum Collection
#192-195 - Checklists
#S1-S5 & R1-R18 Insert Cards

#1-#106 Active Wrestlers
There are two cards each of the top 40 wrestlers (a squatting, pre-bout pose and a standing, kesho-mawashi pose).  For the lower-ranked wrestlers there is only one card each and they are standing in their kesho-mawashi.  Backs have the standard statistics and biographical information along with smaller inset photos.

#107-#144 - Toshiyori (Sumo Elders)
Like the 1997 set, the 1998 East Series features cards of the elders of the sumo association..these are the guys that make it all happen and run the organization....all of them are retired wrestlers.  The fronts of the cards feature the elder in his active years and the back has anecdotal info along with career statistics.

 #145-153 - 1997 Winners
This subset shows the tournament winners (Makunouchi and Juryo) for the last three tournaments of 1997.  It also has the the special prize winners in Makunouchi.  The back has highlights of the tournament as well as an action photo during the match.  The wrestlers winning record is printed below the name as well as which tournament he won.


#154-#163 - Yokozuna in Showa Era - Series 2
This 10-card subset is a continuation of Series 1 in the 1997 set and features all the yokozuna who were active during the Showa Era (1926-1989).

#164-#174 - Top 10 Kinboshi Winners
This subset features the top 10 wrestlers who have scored a kinboshi in their career (Maegashira-ranked wrestlers beating a yokozuna). Akinoshima had 15 throughout his career.  

#175-189 - Maegashira Bashi Winners after World War 2
The lower ranked guys get no respect in sumo....unless they win one of the six annual tournaments.  This subset highlights the Maegashira-ranked wretlers who accomplished just that.  Notice the uncorrected spelling of ranks (lanks).

#190-#191 - Sumo Museum Collection
Another subset featuring items in the sumo museum.  Tow cards in this subset.

#192-#195 - Checklists
The all important checklists.  4 of them here for this 218-card set.

#R1-R18 Insert Cards
This short-printed subset is called Rivals in the 20th Century and feature the great rivals throughout the years.  The cards come in pairs as shown below for 9 total rivalries.  I think these were seeded maybe 1 or so per box.  The backs highlight the rivalry on one card and the win/loss record between the two on the other. 

#S1-S5 Insert Cards
This short-printed subset feature a 3D like starburst with the wrestler's image slightly raised.  The back details their 1997 year in review.


  1. Sometimes I wish I lived in Japan... just so I can go to Japanese baseball games and buy BBM boxes. Do you know if BBM has produced sumo relics and/or autographs yet?

    By the way... I received your awesome care package. Thank you so much! I'll scan, share, and write a post about it this weekend.

  2. I wish I had a do-over during my time there so I could have collected more. BBM started putting signed cards in the 2000 set and relics in the 2001. This continued for a few years and stopped until they started back up in 2013. I am completionist so would love to collect all the insert and auto would pull my focus and resources from the older stuff unfortunately at the moment. Some day I hope I can. No problem on the care package. Glad you like the cards!