Monday, December 31, 2012

Hideki Matsui

Hideki Matsui announced his retirement last week.  I had done a post of Matsui last year when he reached 500 home runs but I decided that I still had enough interesting cards of him to do another post.

There's not much I can say about him that would add anything, so I'll just show the cards:

1993 Takara Giants #55

1994 Calbee Hokkaido Edition #C-1

2000 BBM Diamond Heroes '90s Franchise Player #F16

2000 Konami Field Of 9 #FON00T-010

2000 Upper Deck Victory Superstar Showcase #SS2

2002 BBM 2nd Version Golden Glove #GG8

2011 BBM Hometown Heroes #013

2012 In Review - Calbee

I thought I'd start a tradition at the end of the year of reviewing the releases from Calbee and BBM for that year, because, hey, I don't have enough posts waiting to be done, let's add a couple more...

Luckily, the Calbee review is pretty straight forward.  As they have done for a number of years, Calbee issued their cards this year in three Series.  Each Series contained 72 base player cards (6 per team) for a total of 216 for the entire set (18 per team).  Series Three contained 32 cards of players who had already appeared in Series One and Two, so the total number of players represented in the set was 184.

Calbee also had a number of subsets - two of which spanned all three Series and three of which were unique to each Series.  Series One contained 22 "Title Holder" cards which commemorated players who had led their league in one or more categories or who had won a major award.  It's the equivalent of the "Leaders" subset in the BBM 1st Version set.  Series Two contained 12 cards commemorating the twelve Opening Day starting pitchers (obviously one for each team).  Series Three contained a 22 card subset featuring the players who were elected by the fan voting to be starters in the All Star series.

Calbee celebrated their 40th Anniversary by adding a "Memorial Card" subset to each of the Series.  This subset featured reprinted cards from Calbee's past.  The earliest card represented was Shigeo Nagashima's card from the 1973 set which was the first Calbee card (#1 in the set).  The latest card included was Hirotoshi Kitagawa from the 2002 set.  The Memorial cards from Series One were for Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh plus the managers from each of the teams.  There was a problem with this, however, as Swallows manager Junji Ogawa had never actually had Calbee card made of him during his playing days.  Technically Ogawa's card is a base card (it's numbered as such and has a back consistent with the base cards) but the picture on the card is from his playing days in the 1980's.  The Memorial cards from Series Two featured players who are now coaches from each of the 12 teams.  The Memorial cards from Series Three featured one active player from each team.  There were a total of 37 Memorial cards (plus the "regular" card of Ogawa).

The final subset shared between the three Series is the checklists.  There were four checklists for each Series for a total of 12 altogether.  Each card depicts some event - the Series One cards show events from late in the 2011 season or the 2011 post-season while the cards from the other two Series show events from the 2012 season.

Calbee also included an insert set that spanned all three Series - the Star cards.  Each Series contained 24 of these cards (2 per team) which were sparkly kira type cards.  There were 72 of them in all (6 per team) and there was a gold signature parallel version of them as well.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

1993 Teleca Korean Cards

I've been meaning to get around to this forever - a couple months back I bought a bunch of Korean baseball cards from 1993-94 from Robert Shadlow, another of the "pioneers" of the Asian baseball card hobby in the US.  Robert was actually kind enough to scan all the cards he had and make the scans available to me via dropbox.  I've been feeling very guilty that I have not gotten around to doing any posts on these cards since he had done all that hard and tedious work for me.

I'm going to start with a post on the 1993 cards.  These cards were made by Teleca, who later put out some pack based sets in 1999 and 2000.  The cards are the size and shape (with rounded corners) of phone cards (which Teleca also did in 1993 and 1997).  Instead of being sold in packs or boxes sets, they apparently were sold one card at a time in a "hanging sleeve".  The card would be inserted in the sleeve by having two corners slipped under tabs on the sleeve.  The sleeves themselves would generally have the team's logo under the card and usually a blank back (other than some information about Teleca) although Robert did send me a sleeve for a 1994 LG Twins card that had the Twins schedule on the back side.

I've set up an account on Flickr to show Robert's scans.  The 1993 cards can be seen here.  It's unclear how many cards actually exist in the set and how many teams had cards.  Robert only has five 1993 cards and they are only for the Haitai Tigers and the OB Bears.  Here's a list of the cards he has and links to the fronts, backs and "in sleeve" pictures:

1Sun Dong-yeolHaitai Tigersscanscanscan
9Kim Kyeong-wonOB Bearsscanscanscan
10Kim Hyeong-seokOB Bearsscanscanscan
11Chang Ho-yeonOB Bearsscanscanscan
12Lee Myeong-sooOB Bearsscanscanscan

Robert also scanned empty sleeves for both the Tigers and the Bears.  The cards shown on the Tigers' sleeve are phone cards that Teleca did in 1991.

You'll probably notice that it looks like there are two numbering systems with the cards.  The OB Bear cards have a number in the form "O.9308XX" where "XX" is the player's uniform number.  Many of the 1994 cards have a similar numbering scheme but since several players in the 1994 set have multiple cards, these numbers aren't unique.

Robert suspects that there are actually only 12 cards for 1993 and that the 1994 Teleca set is a continuation of it as the lowest numbered card he has for the 1994 set is #13.

Robert has 70+ 1994 cards scanned as well - I'll be doing posts on them in the future, probably on a team by team basis.

Since Robert has been so helpful to me I will plug the fact that he is currently selling many of these cards on eBay under his handle bpi6tzt.

Latest BBM Announcements

BBM announced a couple new sets in the past week or so, both of which are the 2013 editions of sets that have now become annual releases.

- The Rookie Edition set will be released in mid February.  This is a pack based set that contains cards for all the players who were taken (and signed) in the 2012 NBP Draft last October.  The base set will contain 96 cards - 83 for the drafted players, 1 sort of checklist card showing all the draft picks (I'm making a guess here based on last year's set) and 12 "Then and Now" cards that I'm not entirely sure of.  I'm guessing that they either show a current player from both his rookie season and last season or it shows a current player's rookie picture along with a newly drafted player from the same team's rookie picture.  With 12 cards, I'm assuming that it's one card per team.  There are also two insert sets - a 24 card (2 per team?) Next Generation set and a 2 card set for the 2012 Rookies Of The Year (Kosuke Nomura and Naoya Masuda).  There will also be possible autograph cards available.  The big names in the set this year will be Shohei Ohtani of the Fighters, Tomoyuki Sugano of the Giants and Shintaro Fujitani of the Tigers.

- BBM's box set for players who retired in 2012 will be released in late January.  The set will contain 43 cards - 42 "regular" cards and 1 "special" card - either a foil or real autograph card.  Obviously the big names in the set will be Takuro Ishii, Hiroki Kokubo, Tomoaki Kanemoto, Kenji Johjima and So Taguchi.  I don't know if they will have enough time to add Hideki Matsui to the set as well.

Card Of The Week January 30

Takashi Saitoh is returning to Japan to play for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles next season.  Saitoh, who will be 43 when the season begins, has spent the last seven seasons in the US pitching in the Dodger, Red Sox, Braves, Brewers and Diamondback organizations.  As I pointed out a few months back, I believe Saitoh is one of only three former Yokohama Taiyo Whales still active with Motonobu Tanishige and Daisuke Miura being the other two.

Here's Saitoh's rookie card from the 1992 BBM set (#471):

Monday, December 24, 2012

Card Of The Week December 23

Hopefully I'll get back to posting stuff this week but in the meantime, here's this week's Card Of The Week, a day late.

I'm not quite sure where this card of Koichi Tabuchi of the Tigers comes from.  Gary Engel's latest guide book lists a set called "1976 Blank Backs" (JMC 2003).  This particular card is not listed, but some of the other cards that I got with this one (from a group of cards I won on eBay a few years back) are.

I had not realized that Tabuchi was so tall :-).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Card Of The Week December 16

Busy weekend, so I'll be making this a quick one today.  This is a JCM2 "Blue Baseball Back" menko card from 1948 of Takeshi Doigaki of the then Osaka Tigers:

Friday, December 14, 2012

New Blog by Rob Fitts

Rob Fitts has started a new blog called "Japanese Vintage Baseball Cards".  I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of cool old cards on it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Card Of The Week December 9

Thought I'd add one last Kyuji Fujikawa item.  Frequently, BBM's team sets include some sort of puzzle or sequence of cards that go together.  The 2007 Tigers team set included a six card puzzle of Fujikawa.  Unfortunately, I only have five of the six but I think it's still kind of neat even without the one card:

The top row is cards T109-T111; the bottom row is T112 and T113 (so the missing card is T114).

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Kyuji Fujikawa of the Chicago Cubs

Kyuji Fujikawa, formerly of the Hanshin Tigers and the Cubs announced that they had come to an agreement last week and Fujikawa will be pitching in Wrigley Field for the next two years.

Fujikawa was drafted by Hanshin in the first round of the 1999 NPB draft (which was held in the fall of 1998).  His rookie card is #392 in the 1999 BBM set.  His appearances in the "flagship" BBM sets are somewhat sporadic over the next few years - he's in the 2001 set, but not in the 2000 set or either the 1st or 2nd Versions in 2002.  He's in the 2003 and 2004 2nd Version sets but not the 1st either year and in the 2005 1st Version set but not the 2nd.  It's not until 2006 that he started showing up in both the 1st and 2nd Version sets each year (not coincidentally, 2005 was the year he really became a star).  He's made the All Star team each season since 2005 so (logically) he's in each of the BBM All Star sets since 2005.  The Tigers have made the Nippon Series twice during his time with the team, however he only appeared in the 2005 Series so his lone BB Nippon Series set appearance is from that year.

He does not have a Calbee card until 2005 (#213) but he's had at least one card in each Calbee set since then.  He played for the Japanese team in the WBC in both 2006 and 2009, but he only has a single card (along with 11 parallel versions) in the 2009 Bowman Chrome WBC Prospects set.  He also played on the 2008 Japanese Olympic Baseball team and has a card in BBM's set for that team.

As always, this is not a comprehensive list but merely some of the highlights.  Check out Sports Card Forum's Inventory Manager for a much more complete list (thanks to Jason).

Here's a couple of his cards (can't show the rookie card because I don't have it):

2003 BBM 2nd Version #809 (New Wave subset)

2005 Konami Baseball Heroes Black #B05B109

2006 BBM Tigers # T100

2007 BBM 2nd Version #702 (For The Ultimate! subset)

2009 Bowman Chrome WBC Prospects #BCW39

2011 Calbee Star Card #S-16

Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 Award Winners

Running very late on this this year...this year's MVPs were Shinnosuke Abe of the Giants and Mitsuo Yoshikawa of the Fighters, the Rookies Of The Year were Yusuke Nomura of the Carp and Naoya Masuda of the Marines and the Sawamura Award winner was Tadashi Settsu of the Hawks.  Here's the 2012 BBM 1st Version card for each of them:






The Best 9 teams for both the Central and Pacific Leagues were announced last month as well.  Here's 2012 Calbee cards for all the winners:

Central League Best 9

Pacific League Best 9

Pacific League DH

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kota Kobayashi of the Cleveland Indians

In what I think was the first signing of a former NPB player this off season, the Cleveland Indians last week announced the signing of former Yokohama DENA Baystars ikusei pitcher Kota Kobayashi.  Kobayashi was drafted out of high school by Yokohama in the 2010 draft (which took place in October of 2009).  He spent all three season with Yokohama in the minors.

Kobayashi doesn't have a whole lot of baseball cards.  Like most of the rest of his draft class, he appeared in the 2010 BBM Rookie Edition set.  His only other cards were in the annual BBM Baystars team sets - he never appeared in any of the main "flagship" sets from BBM, Calbee, Konami or Bandai.  Here's his Rookie Edition card (#049):

I also want to note that Kobayashi is the second Japanese player that the Indians signed this off season (although the first former member of an NPB team).  Back in October, they signed Takuya Tsuchida from Hagura High School.  Tsuchida went undrafted in the NPB draft in October and signed a deal with the Indians shortly after.  There are the same amount of legitimate cards of Tsuchida kicking around as there are for Shohei Otani.

Cool blog

Sorry I've been off line for much of the past two weeks.  I got sick Thanksgiving weekend and really only started recovering this week.

I learned about a great blog a few weeks back called This Card Is Cool.  The writer Ryan is living in Japan and has been hitting the Mint baseball card stores and posting scans of what he finds there.  He's found a lot of cool stuff that I didn't know existed and he gets a lot of parallels and inserts, which I don't pay a lot of attention to, so you get a really good survey of what's actually out there from reading his blog.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Card Of The Week December 2

Just finished reading Ralph Pearce's book "From Asahi To Zebras:  Japanese American Baseball in San Jose, California".  It's an interesting book about the history of baseball in the Japanese American community in San Jose (which you probably figured out from the title) from the 1910's through the early 1960's (and actually some community youth programs later than that as well).  Mush of the book focuses on the San Jose Asahi team in the years prior to World War II, especially spotlighting their tour of Japan in the mid 1920's and their games against the Tokyo Giants during the Giants tours of the US in 1935 and 1936 (the Asahi was one of only two Nisei teams to defeat the Giants during the 1935 tour).  The section of the book dealing with the post war era concentrates on the Zebras, who basically replaced the Asahi as the preeminent team in the Japanese American community in San Jose.

One of the Zebra's primary rivals in the Northern California Nisei Baseball League (NCNBL) was the Fresno Nisei.  A couple of the players on the Fresno team eventually played for the Carp in the mid-1950's.  The most successful of these players was an outfielder named Satoshi "Fibber" Hirayama who would spend 10 years with Hiroshima from 1955 to 1964.  Hirayama was the subject of an article in the August 4, 1958 issue of Sports Illustrated written by Mark Harris, author of the great Henry Wiggen baseball novels (of which the most famous is "Bang The Drum Slowly", made into one of the best baseball movies ever).  He's also one of the subjects of Rob Fitts' "Remembering Japanese Baseball".

I was kind of surprised to realize that Hirayama hasn't appeared in any of BBM's OB sets, especially the Carp's 60th Anniversary set from a few years ago.  I'm actually not positive I have a card of him or not.  This card is from the 1959 "2 in 1" Marukami B & W set (JBR 5):

The listing for the set in Gary Engel's "Japanese Baseball Card Checklist And Price Guide" says that the player on the left is an unknown player for the Orions.  The player on the right could either be Hirayama (described in Engel as "RHB - hips up") or Takeshi Koba ("RHB - thighs up").  I'm going with Hirayama, but it could be Koba.  (And now you see the kind of issues that you run into trying to identify old bromide cards, even when you have a checklist.)

(And in case you're curious, the other two members of the Fresno Nisei to play for the Carp were Kenso and Kenshi Zenimura, sons of Kenichi Zenimura who was known as the "Father Of Japanese American Baseball".)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Card Of The Week November 25

Got a nice surprise a few weeks back when I got my latest shipment of cards from Japan.  The fellow that I get my cards from slipped an issue of Sports Card Magazine into the package.  This is a magazine published by BBM that covers sports cards in Japan - essentially the Beckett of Japan.  It has checklists and price guides for the latest releases for BBM, Calbee and Epoch/All Japan Baseball Foundation.  Obviously, it's all in Japanese so it's of limited usefulness to a Japanese illiterate like myself, but the pictures are nice.

I've gotten issues of this magazine before, but what made this particular issue so special to me is that it still had baseball cards in it.  BBM distributes promo baseball cards in this magazine - I don't know if it is every issue and I don't know how many they normally include.  Every other issue I've gotten I've bought on eBay and any promo cards were already removed from the magazine.  This issue contained two promos for BBM's new high-end Genesis set (which replaced Touch The Game which in turn had replaced Diamond Heroes back in 2002):

SCM #203 (Genesis #096)

SCM #202 (Genesis #075)
(Note: the Utsumi card has a red border all the way around it but my scanner decided to ignore it)

The one thing I found really cool about these cards is that they aren't just promo versions of the regular cards - they are a special parallel version.  At the end of August, the Central League teams ran a promotion called "Great Central" where all six teams wore retro uniforms for a couple of series.  These cards are labelled as the "Great Central Edition" as both Utsumi and Dohbayashi are wearing 70's era uniforms.  These are not the pictures on their regular cards (which can be seen courtesy of Jambalaya here and here).  The red border is also different than the original cards although there appears to be a red bordered parallel (as well as a blue bordered one and a green bordered one).  I don't know if there are any other "Great Central Edition" versions available - I think these are the only cards given away with the magazine (as the cards are pictured on the front cover) but I don't know if any other promo cards were given away in some other manner.

I am generally not a fan of the "high-end" card sets - I really never liked Topps Finest or Upper Deck SP and I generally have found BBM's high end offerings of Diamond Heroes and Touch The Game to be extremely unattractive - but I did briefly consider picking up Genesis so that I could complete the "Cross-Blaze" crossover subset.  I ultimately decided that it wasn't worth it enough to me to spend the money on the set.  While it was fun to get these promo cards, they didn't make me change my mind.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Stuff

BBM listed a couple new sets in the past week or so:

- a "Memorial" box set for Tomoaki Kanemoto (finishing the trilogy of box sets for retiring Meikyukai members).  It's got 28 cards in the set - 27 "regular" cards covering Kanemoto's career plus one "special" card - possible jersey, bat, autograph, etc.  The set will be out at the end of November.

- the annual Nippon Series box set.  This set contains 72 cards - 2 for the team managers, 64 for the players who appeared in the set (including Yuki Saitoh - how does a guy who spent the entire second half of the season stinking it up at Kamagaya get to pitch in the Nippon Series - granted it was mop up relief but still...*), 5 for the Award Winners and 1 card showing the Giants celebrating.  It will be out in mid-December.

* I'm going to do a Joe Posnanski style footnote/aside here to continue to rant about Yu-Chan.  So not only does he spend the second half of the season just sucking with the ni-gun Fighters and then pitches two innings in Game Five of the Nippon Series where he continues to suck (2 innings pitched, four hits, one walk, one strikeout and two earned runs for a nifty ERA of 9.00), he makes the Samurai Japan roster for the two games against Cuba!  Mercifully he's the only pitcher on the roster who didn't appear in either game - this goes a long way with giving me some confidence in Koji Yamamoto as manager.  But for God's sake, please don't put him on the WBC roster!

I also happened to notice that Epoch and the All Japan Baseball Foundation are putting out yet another OB Club set.  This one is entitled "History Of Best Nine" and it looks like there's 45 regular cards and a boatload of possible special cards - lots of autographs.  The set will be out on the 22nd of December.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Card Of The Week November 18

I've been meaning to get to this for a while (just like I've been meaning to get to the 1993-94 Teleca Korean cards) - Jason has taken on an amazing endeavour - he's been attempting to catalog 20+ year's worth of Taiwanese baseball cards - both for the CPBL and the short-lived TML.  He found a Chinese website that lists all the sets along with a gallery showing all the cards in all the sets.

I only have a handful of Taiwanese cards and Jason hasn't gotten to the sets that most of my cards are from yet.  But because of Jason, I now know that the following card is from 1990 and shows former Houston farmhand Tony Metoyer:

UPDATE:  Jason just posted a checklist for another set that I actually have a pack of cards from - the 1996/97 ProCard set.  Turns out I have another card of Tony Metoyer (card # 155):

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Five Years In

Today marks my fifth anniversary writing this blog.  I wanted to take this opportunity to thank a lot of people.

First I want to thank all the guys who've put up great blogs and websites to talk about Japanese baseball - Michael Westbay, Deanna Rubin, Gen, Patrick, Gary Garland and all the others I have listed on the right side of the blog.  I want to thank Jason Presley for doing an amazing job of cataloging and checklisting all kinds of odd foreign cards (not just Japanese) - makes figuring out who has a card when so much easier.  (and I apologize to Jason for not helping him out more than I have.)

I also want to thank John Gibson and Jim Allen for their invaluable weekly Japanese baseball podcast - I always learn a lot from it, including how to pronounce names.

I've been corresponding with Ralph Pearce a lot lately and I've been slowly realizing how much of a debt all of us current collectors of Japanese cards owe to a handful of people.  I'm hoping to write more about this in the future, but for now let me just thank Mel Bailey, Ed Broder, Bud Ackerman, Gary Engel, Philip Block, Robert Shadlow and Robert Klevens (among others).  And of course, Ralph Pearce.

I also want to thank Rob Fitts for his encouragement over the years.

I want to thank my wife and kids for putting up with this for so long.

And a big thank you to everyone who reads this.

I started this blog because I was frustrated that I couldn't find any English language place on the web that would tell me the things I wanted to know about Japanese baseball cards.  My hope is that I've become that place for other collectors.

Thanks for indulging me in this early Thanksgiving.  Now I'll get back to writing about cards and mocking Yuki Saitoh.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2012 BBM No-Hitters

BBM's been unusually light on historical sets this year.  It's been kind of normal for them to do a couple Anniversary sets or a Lions Classic set or something, but there's really been nothing since the annual "Historic Collection" set last November ("The Strongest Generation") until this set appeared in September.

The BBM No-Hitters set chronicles the no-hitters that have been thrown throughout professional baseball history in Japan.  It's a pack based set featuring 99 cards (the standard size of most of BBM's Anniversary sets) and contains three subsets - 81 cards for the actual no-hitters, six combination cards and 12 team cards.

Each of the no-hitter cards commemorates a particular no-hitter.  The front of the card has a picture of the pitcher - in most cases BBM's attempted to use a picture from the no-hitter itself but for a number of the early ones that's not the case - and lists the date and location of the game and who it was against.  The back of the card appears to have a partial box score of the game and some sort of write-up.  Over three quarters of the photos are in black and white - even some of the games from the 1980's feature black and white photos.

There are eight regular season no-hitters that are not included in the set (nine if you count Yuki Nishi's one late in the 2012 season - a little unfair since it happened after the set was released).  Three of those no-hitters were thrown by a combination of pitchers.  Ryan G commented that combined no-hitters don't count as no-hitters in Japan, so that explains their exclusion.  One of the others was Tsutomu Tanaka, who threw a perfect game against Nankai for the Lions on May 12, 1966.  This game was also left out of the 1994 BBM Perfect Pitching set - a note in the set explained that BBM was unable to contact him to get his permission to be in the set.  Tanaka was also implicated in the "Black Mist" scandal in the early 1970's so that may explain his absence as well (although Yutaka Enatsu shows up in sets all the time and he was implicated as well, so maybe not).  The other four are Yoshimi Moritaka (perfect game for Kokutetsu against Chunichi on June 20, 1961), Melvin Bunch (for Chunichi against Yokohama on April 7, 2000), Narcisco Elvira (for Kintetsu against Seibu on June 20, 2000) and Rick Guttormson (for Yakult against Rakuten on May 5, 2006).  (And yes, those are the only no-hitters ever thrown on June 20 and they're both not in the set :-)).  And in case you're interested, there's a (mostly) complete list of Japanese no-hitters here.

Anyway, on to some sample cards:





Back of #39 (Hanshin's Gene Bacque vs Yomiuri 6/28/1965)
As you can see, Masaichi Kaneda is in the set - he almost never shows up in OB sets  Since he threw two no-hitters in his career, he has two no-hitter cards.  Eiji Sawamura and Yoshiro Sotokoba each threw three, so they each have three cards in the subset.  There's also a couple odd Hall Of Famers who were known more for their bats than their pitching - Michio Nishizawa and Shosei Go.

The "Combination" subset features two pitchers on each card who apparently have some sort of connection with their no-hitters.  For example, Sawamura and Sotokoba share a card since they are the only two players with three no-hitters each.  I can hazard guesses on some of the others - Yoshinori Satoh and Masahiro Yamamoto are the two oldest pitchers to throw a no-hitter; Shinji Sasaoka and Kenta Maeda were both Carp; and Teruzo Nakao and Toshiya Sugiuchi were both Giants.  But I have no idea why Shigeru Sugishita and Masaichi Kaneda share a card.

I love the stories behind the "Combination" card I'm showing as an example.  The card features Yutaka Enatsu and Tsuneo Horiuchi.  They're both depicted wearing batting helmets.  There's a reason for that.  Horiuchi hit three home runs in his no-hitter.  Enatsu has a simply amazing game - he capped off eleven no-hit innings by hitting a walk-off solo home run.  Truly a DIY effort!


The twelve team cards celebrate all the no-hitters by team.  The front of the card shows a scene from one of the no-hitters (if possible - the Hawks have only had one no-hitter and it was in 1943, so the picture is simply one of pitcher Akira Bessho) and the backs have the complete list of the team's no-hitters (including the five that weren't featured in the cards).  Here's the Baystars card, showing Gentaro Shimada of the then Taiyo Whales walking off the field on August 11, 1960:

As always, Jambalaya has all the cards up here.

And if the missing no-hitters are bothering you, you can always dig up some other BBM cards that commemorate them.  I find ones for all of them except Tsutomo Tanaka's:

1994 BBM Perfect Pitching #P7

2001 BBM #522

2001 BBM #523

2006 BBM 2nd Version #795

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Card Of The Week November 11

I've been going through the cards for the new (relatively anyway) BBM No-hitters set, getting ready for the post I'm going to do on it.  I've been figuring out which no-hitters do not have cards - there are eight regular season ones that are missing.  There's also a couple non-regular season ones that aren't in the set either.  One of them is the combined perfect game thrown by Daisuke Yamai and Hitoki Iwase of the Dragons against the Fighters to finish off the 2007 Nippon Series.  The other one is a little older and even more amazing.

On July 17, 1971, the Central League no-hit the Pacific League in the first of the three All Star games played that year.  Yutaka Enatsu of the Tigers started for the CL and pitched three innings.  He also hit a home run in the game.  He was followed in turn by Hidetaka Watanabe of the Giants (2 innings), Kazumi Takahashi, also of the Giants (1 inning), Hisanobu Mizutani of the Dragons (.1 innings) and Tadakatsu Kotani of the Whales (2.2 innings).  Enatsu picked up the win and was named MVP of the game.

The 2000 BBM Century's Best Nine set included an insert set entitled "The Scene".  The 10 cards in the set commemorated significant events in Japanese baseball.  The 1971 All Star game no-hitter was the first card (#S-01) in the set:

I got some of the information about this from the list of no-hitters in Baseball Reference's Bullpen.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2012 Calbee Series Three

Calbee released Series Three about two months ago but I just got my set the other day.  Like the two previous series, this series features 72 "regular" player cards (six per team).  The cards are numbered 146 to 217, so there are (obviously) 217 "regular" cards in the entire Calbee run for this year.  (Well, really 216 plus a card of Swallows manager Junji Ogawa representing his Memorial Card since he never appeared on a Calbee card when he was a player.)  The odd things about the Series Three cards is that I count about 32 of them that are cards for players who already had cards in the first two Series.  So there's only 40 new players showing up in the Series Three "regular" cards.  The cards have the same design and feature the same great photography of the earlier Series.  Here's some examples:




Calbee continued their celebration of their 40th Anniversary with the inclusion of another 12 "Memorial Cards" in Series Three.  An earlier year's card of one player from each team is featured in this subset.  The oldest card included is Masahiro Yamamoto's rookie card from 1990.  The most recent card is the 2002 Hirotoshi Kitagawa card.  Here's an example - card #M-35 featuring Shinjiro Hiyama's 1997 card:

The other big subset in Series Three is the All Star cards.  This subset features the 22 players who were selected to the All Star rosters via the fan voting.  It looks to me like the photos were taken at the games themselves.  Here's an example:

I might not have noticed this if I hadn't gotten both this set and the new BBM All Star set at the same time but there's three guys from the Fighters who have almost identical poses on each of their All Star cards:

#A28 (left) and #AS-10 (right)

#A06 (left) and #AS-03 (right)

#A29 (left) and #AS-11 (right)
Like the two previous Series, this set includes four checklist cards.  The cards feature events from earlier in the 2012 season.  Three of these events - Senichi Hoshino's 1000th managerial victory, Kenta Maeda's nohitter and Norihiro Nakamura's game winning home run from April 15th - also appeared as events on the team checklist cards for the BBM 2nd Version set this year.  The other event is Saburo Ohmura's home run against the Giants on May 26th.

I couldn't decide which checklist to show since I really like both the Nakamura card and the Saburo card so I thought I'd use both:


All the cards in the set can be seen here.