Friday, January 23, 2009

Career Home Run Leaders #12 - Shigeo Nagashima

Number 12 on the list, but number one in the hearts of many fans is Mr. Giants, Shigeo Nagashima. I will leave a description of Nagashima's place in Japanese baseball for others but think of the way baby boomers think of Mickey Mantle, only more so. (In fact I would bet that a really interesting sociological thesis comparing Mantle's and Nagashima's roles in the post-World War II culture in both countries could be written.)

Anyway, Nagashima had 444 career home runs, all while playing for the Yomiuri Giants from 1958 until 1974. Here's a smattering of his cards:

BBM put out a whole set dedicated to him in 1999. This card (#G27) shows him in his Rikkyo University uniform, sometime in the mid-1950's:

A Doyusha "4-in-1" bromide from 1960. Nagashima is on the lower right (obviously). (That's Kazuhisa Inao in the upper left and Tetsuya Yoneda in the lower left):

2006 BBM Nostalgic Baseball #099. If "History Of Uniform" is to be believed, this picture is from 1960:

1964 Marukami Menko:

2002 BBM All Time Heroes #005. Don't know when the picture was taken, but it's a great shot:

1974/75 Calbee #426. This card shows his retirement ceremony on October 12, 1974. (I think that might be Sadaharu Oh bringing him the flowers):

1975/76 Calbee #604, as Giants manager. Nagashima managed the Giants from 1975-80, then again from 1993-2001. He also managed the Japanese National Team for the 2003 Asian Championship. He was expected to manage the 2004 Olympic team, but he suffered a stroke and had to step down:

Rob Fitts has a gallery of cards here.

(The card at the top of the post is 2002 BBM 2nd Version #834)

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