Monday, May 6, 2013

2000 Upper Deck Japanese Olympic Team Set

A couple months back Ryan posted what I thought was a very interesting card that he'd found in a shop in Nagoya - a card of 2000 Japanese Olympic Baseball Team member Yoshikazu Doi.  This card was apparently from a larger set that Upper Deck did for the entire Japanese delegation to the Sydney games.

I am a sucker for National Team sets but I had never heard of this one so I was very intrigued.  Unlike the previous Olympic teams that were mostly made up of college and/or industrial league players and later Olympic teams that were exclusively NBP players, the 2000 Japanese Olympic baseball team was a hybrid of 10 NBP players, 13 industrial league players and one college player.  Several of the industrial league players have since gone on to NBP and become stars, including Norihiro Akahoshi, Toshiya Sugiuchi and especially Shinnosuke Abe.  Up to now, the only cards I knew of for this team were an eight card subset in the 2001 Calbee set that didn't even include all of the NBP players.

Ryan had only seen the one baseball player along with a bunch of other sports.  Doi's card was #222 but he had no idea how many other baseball cards there were (or even if there were any others).  I started looking around.  I found a lot of 100 or so cards from the set on Yahoo! Auctions Japan that I picked up via kuboTEN.  I also found singles from the set at Wrappers in Tokyo.  (I don't know if other stores had singles or not because I didn't think to look until I was at Wrappers.)  Between these two sources, I've managed to locate 14 cards for the team.  What I don't know is how many cards there are and if there are actually cards for all 24 team members.

The cards I have so far are numbered between 214 and 230.  So that's 17 cards right there.  But obviously there could be cards before 214 and after 230, couldn't there?  I took a look at the lot of cards I got from the auction and saw that the last number I have before the baseball cards is #207 and the first number after the baseball cards is #232.  So the entire subset COULD start at #208 and go to #231.  And that would give us 24 cards, enough for the entire team.  UPDATE - yeah, it COULD have started at #208, but it doesn't.  According to what Jason's found on the web, the subset starts at #213 and goes to #231.  So 19 cards in all.

If only the lot I won had included the checklist card for that part of the set...

So here's what I do know exists (UPDATED with what Jason found):

213 Daisuke Matsuzaka
214 Tomohiro Kuroki
215 Nobuhiko Matsunaka
216 So Taguchi
217 Yukio Tanaka
218 Norihiro Nakamura
219 Masato Kawano
220 Fumihiro Suzuki
221 Toshiya Sugiuchi
222 Yoshikazu Doi
223 Masanori Sugiura
224 Kosuke Noda
225 Yoshinori Okihara
226 Jun Heima
227 Osamu Nogami
228 Yoshihiko Kajiyama
229 Norihiro Akahoshi
230 Tomohiro Iizuka
231 Shunsuke Watanabe

And here's the list of guys on the roster who are not accounted for so far do not have cards:

Shinnosuke Abe
Jun Hirose
Masanori Ishikawa
Akichika Yamada
Yuji Yoshima

Here's a couple sample cards.  Upper Deck reused their design from the 1999 Victory set for these:

#215

#221

#217
It's very hard to find any "pre-rookie" cards of any NBP players (unless they went to one of the Tokyo Big Six schools since 2008) so the idea of being able to find an Abe card from before he was drafted by the Giants is pretty cool.  UPDATE - Unfortunately, he doesn't have a card in the set.  But "pre-rookie" cards of Sugiuchi and Akahoshi are pretty cool too.

Many thanks to Jason for filling in the empty spaces.

5 comments:

Fuji said...

These are very cool. Best of luck in determining who and how many more cards are in the team set.

JasonP said...

Took a few minutes of searching, but I found a trader's site trying to find the cards they still need for the set:

http://www.geocities.jp/takawanwanwan/sydneyolympicgamesjapaneseteamcards.html

According to this, cards 213-231 are baseball.

The few they have listed that you are missing are:

213 Daisuke Matsuzaka
223 Masanori Sugiura
229 Norihiro Akahoshi
231 Shunsuke Watanabe

That still leaves card 220, which could be any of the 6 remaining players you listed.

JasonP said...

Nevermind, I found the last one here:

http://www.geocities.co.jp/Athlete-Acropolis/1170/yng/vol_card/gorinjapan.html

#220 is Fumihiro Suzuki

NPB Card Guy said...

Amazing as always Jason. How do you find this stuff?

I will update the post and my wantlist. Thanks!

Bummer that there's no Abe card.

JasonP said...

Back in the 1990s, I used to run a website called the Star Wars Booklist Internacionale (you can still see some versions on Archive.org if you search for swbooklist.com) where I compiled listings of every version of every Star Wars book issued all over the world. I probably maintained that site for a good 6 years before the new movies came out and squashed all my enthusiasm for Star Wars. I had to learn how to search in a good 15 different languanges (not as hard as it sounds, you just work out some common keywords). So digging up information for all these various baseball card sets from around the world just exercies those skills I learned some 15+ years ago.

Now I rely mostly on Google Translate (praise the gods for Google!), but before that I made a ton of use of Babelfish at Alta Vista, and Japanese translator that was only available in the Japanese version of Excite.com.

Who remembers the days of AltaVista, Infoseek, Lycos, Hotbot and Excite? I don't think anyone misses those days.