Sunday, January 31, 2010

2009 Epoch All Japan Baseball Foundation Set

Hitting the stores this past fall was a set produced by Epoch (who's previous contribution to Japanese baseball cards was a set of stickers back in 2000) that commemorates the 15th Anniversary of something called the "All Japan Baseball Foundation". I'm not exactly sure what this organization is, but I think they're a group of retired players that promotes youth baseball. Their website is here and there's a page with information about the set (and possibly order it, although I don't know if they ship internationally) here.

The set is a 77 card box set that includes 76 "regular" cards of OB players and an autographed card. The set information page I referenced above gives a complete list of the players in the set - this Google translation of the set information page does a decent job of rendering most of the names in English - players marked with an '*' have autograph cards available as inserts.

It's an eclectic group of players ranging from players from the 1940's (Tetsharu Kawakami) to almost the current day (Shinji Sasaoka). Sadaharu Oh, Isao Harimoto, Koji Yamamoto, Tsutomu Wakamatsu, Senichi Hoshino and Koichi Tabuchi are some of the big names in the set. Since I don't know why these players were selected, it's difficult to say who a notable exclusion is - the set doesn't have Shigeo Nagashima, Katsuya Nomura or Masaichi Kaneda in it, but I don't know if that's because they're not involved with the organization. A couple of players in the set are deceased - Kazuhisa Inao and Akira Ohgi. Choji Murata shows up in the set after being noticeably absent from recent BBM OB sets.

Here's some example cards:

That's Yoshinori Hirose (#46), Morimichi Takagi (#14), Yoshio Yoshida (#09), and Yukihiro Nishizaki (#60).

I'm not sure really what I think of the set. It's an interesting collection of players, but if you're looking for something to be a good representation of NPB history, this probably isn't it.

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