Saturday, September 14, 2013

An Interesting Tidbit

There were some questions/comments the other day about the 1987 Play Ball Japan set.  All I really know about the set is what's in Gary Engel's "Japanese Baseball Cards Checklist And Price Guide" but both Scott and Jason mentioned in comments that they thought Ed Broder, who had published several Japanese baseball card sets in the mid-1970's when he was stationed in Japan, had been involved with the set.  I asked Ralph Pearce, one of the hobby's pioneers, about it.  Ralph had published a newsletter called "The Japanese Baseball Enthusiast" back in the mid-1990's.  Ralph had mentioned to me once that he had an interview with Mr. Broder that had never gotten published in his newsletter.  Ralph was kind enough to forward me an excerpt from the interview that concerned the set in question which also revealed another detail that I was not previously aware of:

Ralph Pearce:  Can you tell me roughly what time you were stationed in Japan?

Ed Broder:  Yeah, ’71 to ’77.

RP:  But you were still kind of involved because you did that TCMA set right?  And that was ’79?

EB:  Yeah, ’79, and then again whatever the year Horner was there [1987].

RP:  So did you go over there to do that?

EB:  Yeah, ’79, yeah.  But the other set were all from Wayne Graczyk’s pictures.

I think I may be making an assumption here, but it sounds like Mr. Broder did the photography for the 1979 TCMA set also!

Wayne Graczyk is a writer for the Japan Times who's been in Japan since the mid-1970's.  He has published an annual Japanese Baseball Media Guide in English since 1976.  (He's also the guy who handles buying baseball tickets for Japan Ball Tickets so even though he and I have never met, he bought my tickets for the Lions and Baystars open-sen games I went to back in March.)  Anyway, Graczyk's guide has (or had - I've only seen the 1989 edition) a section showing all the Western players who've played in Japan with pictures.  Broder had provided pictures for the guide when it started but I'm guessing that after he left Japan, Graczyk took over taking pictures of the newer players.  What I'm trying to get it is that some of the pictures from the 1987 set also appeared in the 1989 edition of the media guide - which make sense if the pictures for the Play Ball Japan set were Graczyk's.

Gary Engel lists the TCMA and Play Ball Japan sets in a section in his checklist and price guide entitled "American Cards Featuring Japanese Baseball".  There's only 10 sets listed in this section and six of them are the sets that Engel acknowledges as Broder's.  This news means that Broder was involved with at least 8 of those 10 sets.  (It's unlikely that he was involved with the 1961 Union Oil Taiyo Whales set but he could have been involved with the other set, a 1980 set that little is known about.)


Jason Presley said...

I've enjoyed Ralph's posts to Rob Fitts' blog. Maybe we can convince Ralph to scan and post some issues of his old newsletter someday. I always like seeing the details filled in for various bits of the hobby.

NPB Card Guy said...

Ralph was nice enough to make copies of his newsletter for me (along with Philip Block's "Yakyu" newsletter that came a little later). They make for some interesting reading on the early days of the hobby. Ralph has interviews with Mel Bailey, Bud Ackerman (early importers of cards including the 1967 Kabaya-Leaf set) and John Sipin (who played for the Whales and Giants in the 1970's).

I had told my wife about how many posts Ralph had done for Rob's blog. When I got an email from Rob about something, my wife asked if I was sure it was from Rob or if Ralph wrote it for him :-)

Ralph said...

Lol! Just reading this now for the first time (been busy!). Rob was letting me post on his site, though I haven't had time to submit anything for a while. I'm fine with your posting any of my old JBE newsletters, they were a lot of fun to do.