I've gotten a little behind in the news the last couple of weeks with the holidays and all, but I'll try to catch up. Some sad news from earlier this month - Tigers outfielder Norihiro Akahoshi is retiring due to neck and back injuries. NPB Tracker has an appreciation of Akahoshi here, so I won't write much more, just show a couple cards.
Here's his rookie card from the 2001 BBM set (#385):
Akahoshi was a little old for a rookie - he turned 25 right around the beginning of the 2001 season. He'd played a few years in the industrial leagues before signing with the Tigers - he was a member of the 2000 Japanese Olympic team that was made up primarily of industrial league players. He won the 2001 Central League Rookie Of The Year Award, which was commemorated in this card from 2002 BBM 1st Version set (#401):
He made the All Star team three times (2003, 2005 and 2006) and played in two Nippon Series (2003 and 2005), both in losing efforts. Here's his 2003 Calbee All Star card (#AS-23):
2004 BBM 1st Version #212, facsimile autograph parallel:
Wearing one of the Tigers hideous inter-league play uniforms, 2007 BBM 2nd Version #622:
2009 BBM 2nd Version # 674: