Saturday, April 28, 2012


After Yamakatsu and Nippon Ham, the other big card manufacturer of the late 1970's (besides Calbee of course) was NST.  Between 1975 and 1983, NST produced four large sets of 2 inch by 2 7/8 inch cards.  Technically I guess the cards are really stamps as they were intended to be pasted into albums that (I assume) were sold in conjunction with the packs of cards.  At least two of the sets had a parallel set of thicker stock cards also.  The sets were very Giants-centric - the last two featured only Giants players.  The fronts of the cards in all four sets are "pure card" - white border photos with no text whatsoever.

The first NST set was issued in 1975 to honor Shigeo Nagashima, who retired at the end of the 1975 season.  It was a 288 card set called "Mr. Baseball".  The set contains many cards highlighting Nagashima's career (including a bunch of Shukan Baseball Magazine covers) - in many ways this was the model for the set Mr. Giants set BBM produced in 1999 to commemorate Nagashima's career.  The remainder of the set contains mostly other Giants players, but there are some players from other teams.  The real highlight of the set is a handful of cards showing major league players with the Giants - there's a couple cards with Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson during the 1971 Orioles tour of Japan, a card showing Nagashima with Gene Mauch and a card with Tsuneo Horiuch and Ron Cey (unfortunately I have none of these).  The backs of all the cards were identical except for the card number.  There was a parallel set of thicker stock cards which were blank backed.  Here's a couple examples:

Shigeo Nagashima #1
Koichi Tabuchi #66
Back Of Tabuchi's card

NST issued a 388 card set (also called "Mr. Baseball") in 1976.  Again, the cards are mostly Giants players although there appears to be a pretty good selection of players from other teams.  To some extent, the set was intended to honor Sadaharu Oh as there is a small subset dedicated to his records, although nothing like the amount of cards dedicated to Nagashima in the previous set.  The highlight of the set, however, is a card featuring Sadaharu Oh and Henry Aaron - the picture was probably taken when Aaron and Oh had a home run hitting contest in 1974.  Like the 1975 set, the backs of all the cards in the set were identical except for the card number - in fact I think the only real difference between the backs in the two sets is that the backs of this set were blue (despite my scanner deciding to scan it in black and white) - the text appears to be the same.  Here's a few cards:

Keishi Suzuki #4
Takashi Nishimoto #294
Back Of Nishimoto's card

After a hiatus of a year, NST issued a 264 card set in 1978 that was exclusively for the Giants.  Not only did they show the Giants on the field, there were a great many card showing the players off the field, both training in uniform and relaxing or traveling in street clothes.  The set also features cards of OB Giants players such as Victor Starffin and Eiji Sawamura (I think this is the first ever card of Sawamura but I could be wrong).  There was a parallel set of thicker stock cards that had "menko-like" backs showing a dice and a rock-paper-scissors symbol.  The backs of the regular cards were again very similar to the two previous sets - it looks like there's a difference in the last line of text.  Here's a couple examples:

Tadashi Matsumoto #169
Tadao Okada #263
Back of Matsumoto card
Giants Training #160

Shigeru Takada disembarking #50 (I think)

Back of parallel card
NST's final set with 288 cards was released in 1983 and it also is completely dedicated to the Yomiuri Giants.  I don't have any cards from this set, so I can't say too much about it.  It appears from Gary Engel's "Japanese Baseball Card Checklist and Price Guide" that the backs were a different format than the earlier sets although it is not clear if they are identical except for card number in the set itself.


Jason Presley said...

I've got an unopened pack of the 1978 NST cards. So far I've been able to resist the temptation to open it. I keep thinking that if I do open it, I'll have to do so with a video.

Mischa Gelman said...

I can't find a Tadao Okada at

Looking at the 1978 Yomiuri roster listed there, there's no Okada at all or even a Tadao. Who is the mystery man labeled in this post as Tadao Okada? Is this one of those Japanese players changing their name deals?

NPB Card Guy said...
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NPB Card Guy said...

I'm betting Okada never played at the ichi-gun level. The Player Number History site's rosters for the Giants show that Tadao Okada wore #50 from 1976 through 1980. It looks like he was drafted in the second round in the 1976 draft from Chukyo High (according to Google translate anyway). There's a couple other guys (like Katsumi Yoshizawa) who show up in the checklist but not on Japan Baseball Daily's Data Warehouse's rosters.

Thanks for the question - that was fun figuring that out.

Unknown said...
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Scott L said...

Back in the 70s my father was working with a Japanese firm on some electronics project. One of the individuals he was working with knew I collected baseball cards and sent me a pack of Japanese cards, including a Sadaharu Oh card.

I was able to determine the cards are 1978 NST Yomiuri Giants, and the Sadaharu Oh is a parallel card to one of the stickers, but I'm trying to find out which one, as the parallel cards don't have the numbers on the back. The photo is him standing behind the batting cage, with another player hitting in the background. I wish I could post the photo. Any help would be greatly appreciated.