Monday, January 7, 2013

The Legend Of Hideki Matsui

OK, one more Hideki Matsui post...

As Hideki Matsui prepared to leave Japan for the US following the 2002 season, BBM decided to put out a 55 card box set highlighting his Japanese career.  The set was called "The Legend Of Hideki Matsui" and it was packaged in a box designed to look like a leather bound book.

Each box contains 54 "regular" card plus 1 special card.  The special card could potentially be a game used bat card, a game used jersey card, a game used bat and jersey card, an autograph card, one of two different gold baseball cards or one of six different silver baseball cards.

The 54 "regular" cards were broken into seven subsets.  The first was 11 cards simply called "The Legend Of Hideki Matsui".  These cards simply had photos of Matsui on each side.  The pictures on the front and backs of the cards didn't necessarily have anything to do with each other.


The second subset was entitled "Giants 1993-2002".  These 10 cards commemorate each year he spent with Yomiuri.  I think this is the weakest subset in the set myself.

The next subset is "Road To Giants" and features family photos from when he was growing up.  I have a feeling that he wouldn't be thanking his family for making some of these pictures on these five cards available.


Back of #24

Next up, a 10 card "Memorial Scene" subset showing some highlights from his career.  Card #31 stands out as it shows him playing in the 1996 MLB All Star Japan tour.  I'm not sure who the catcher is on the front of the card, but I'm pretty confident that the guy on the back of the card is his future Yankee teammate Alex Rodriquez.

* In case you're wondering, the remainder of the Giants 1993 draft class was Ryuji Kimura, Tetsuhiro Monna, Yoshinori Murata and Kazutaka Nishiyama.  Why does Shigeo Nagashima look so shifty in this picture?  


Back of #31
The next subset is the six card "The Title" subset which has card commemorating various individual titles that he won in Japan (MVP, Home Run, etc):

The nine card "Off Shot" subset shows a bunch of candid photos.  Like the "Legend" subset, the photos on the front and back of the cards don't necessarily have anything to do with each other.

Back of #43

#46 (Godzilla meets Gamera!)

The final subset in the set is three reprinted baseball cards.  One is his 1993 BBM rookie card (#423), reprinted at the slightly smaller size that all the 1993 BBM cards were.  The next is the 1997 Diamond Heroes Jersey card (which of course does not have an actual jersey in it) which was one of the first memorabilia cards that BBM did.  The final is his 1999 Yomiuri Shimbun Giants "Special" card:

I did get one of the silver "Special" cards with the box I bought.  While I think the photography is fantastic through much of the regular cards, I can't say I'm real impressed with the silver card:

The box itself is a little pretentious, especially the text on the back of it:  "The memory of his greatness comes flooding back to us as we close our eyes and let our minds drift through the timeless tunnel of the history.  The man, who has had nothing but trials, continues to impress us with superb records.  He is extraordinary and graceful indeed."

I've picked up a couple of BBM's box sets that are dedicated to a single player.  I think this is one of the better ones, despite the pretentiousness, due to the really impressive collection of photographs that BBM included.


IM said...

Very cool card with Matsui and A-Rod. Are there any card sets from those series that you know of? I guess they won't do any more of those exhibitions due to the WBC. I am looking forward to the WBC though.

NPB Card Guy said...

Closest thing I'm aware of is a set of 18 cards (9 MLB, 9 NBP) that was an insert in the program from the 1998 series. But I doubt the pictures on the cards were taken during the series.

There's a Broder set from the 1970's showing the Mets tour following the 1974 season and a couple NST cards showing scenes from the Orioles tour in 1971 and a Dodgers tour (I think).

I miss the Series as well. It seems like they stopped doing them as soon as I seriously got into Japanese baseball and I got a DVR so I wouldn't have to watch the games at 5 AM...