Ryan over at This Card Is Cool did post the other day on a "Blog Bat Around" topic proposed by the Lifetime Topps Project blog:
“Lost Cards.” Every year card companies come out with different sets and make decisions about what athletes they do and don’t include in those sets. They choose to include new subsets – and exclude old ones. What’s the card or card(s) that weren’t produced that you wish had been made?
Ryan's post centered on the lack of "modern" (post 1990) cards of a number of players (around 25) who were significant in Japanese baseball history for some reason (threw perfect games, won major awards, hit for the cycle, elected to the Hall Of Fame, etc). His post is well worth reading (as always) so if you haven't checked it out, go do so. I'll wait.
I thought I'd take my cut at this topic. Here's a list of themes that I'd like to see BBM (or maybe even Epoch) cover in sets:
1. There's a handful of cards that BBM should have had in various sets over the 24 years that for whatever reason they didn't. It'd be nice in a couple cases when it was something commemorating a record if BBM issued a "lost card" for it. For example, I've pointed out a number of times that Bobby Rose didn't have cards in the 2001 set commemorating his leading the Central League in hits and being named as the Best 9 second baseman due to (I presume) a contract dispute with the Baystars that resulted in him not playing in 2001. As Rose has appeared in BBM card sets since then, it'd be great if BBM issued the two missing cards now. Similarly, it'd be cool if BBM could issue cards for the five no-hitters not included in the 2012 No-Hitters set (as well as the one Daisuke Yamai threw last year) as well as re-issuing the 12 cards in the 2000 20th Century Best 9 set that don't have pictures on the front (the four cards each for Hideo Nomo, Warren Cromartie and Masaichi Kaneda) with pictures. There's also a handful of players who appeared in NPB in a season that BBM did cards but didn't make the set. Off the top of my head, there was Matt Stairs in 1994 and Omar Linares in 2002-2003. BBM could issue cards for these guys in the style of the seasons they played here. And ditto for Calbee - there's any number of Title Holder and Best 9 cards missing from the last 14 years (which I exhaustively covered here) that they could come out with now, as well as any number of significant players left out of various sets.
2. I'll get into this more in the post I'm planning in a few months on the team based OB sets that BBM's done over the last decade but there are a number of teams that have incomplete histories in BBM OB card sets. Only the Giants, Tigers, Dragons, Hawks, Lions, Carp and Eagles (as well as the Kintetsu Buffaloes) have had sets done that cover their entire sets. The other five teams have either only had a subset of their history covered in their OB sets or their history has only been covered in a couple small box sets.
3. BBM's OB sets tend to concentrate on the stars from the 1970's and later. It'd be great to have a "Stars Of The 1950's" and "Stars Of The 1960's" sets (as well as even earlier). BBM did do a "Nostalgic Baseball" set in 2006 that covered the 1930's-1960's but it was not nearly in depth enough.
4. With this being the 80th Anniversary of professional baseball in Japan, I'd like to see a good 80th Anniversary set that commemorated some of the highlights in baseball history - Kazuhisa Inao's four wins in the 1958 Nippon Series, the Emperor's Game, Daisuke Yamai & Hitoki Iwase's combined perfect game in the 2007 Series, Atsuya Furuta hitting for the cycle in an All Star game etc, along with the obvious ones - Oh passing Aaron, Kinugasa passing Gehrig, Kaneda winning his 400th. I at least would like to see something better than what they did for the 70th Anniversary.
5. This is also the 80th Anniversary of the 1934 US Tour Of Japan (and it's not a coincidence that they Anniversaries are in the same year). I'd love to see someone do a commemorative card set featuring the players from both teams.
6. I'll echo one of Ryan's wishes - I want someone to do a Japanese Hall Of Fame set. There's a number of players in the Hall Of Fame who either have not had cards ever or have not had any recently. Unlike Cooperstown, the Japanese Hall Of Fame doesn't even sell postcards of the plaques.