Sunday, March 2, 2014


The first card in the first Calbee set was Shigeo Nagashima.  This should not be a big surprise as there was no one bigger in NPB in 1973 than Shigeo Nagashima.

The picture on that first card is a bit odd.  It's a posed shot, as were many of the pictures used in the 1973 set (at least as far as I can tell) which differentiates itself from Calbee's later sets which mostly used action or candid shots.  Nagashima is looking directly at the camera while smiling.  He's got his glove on his left hand up on his left shoulder next to his head (which is where I'd suppose that you'd find something on someone's shoulder).  He is pointing at the camera with his right hand (which is close enough to the camera to be out of focus).  I don't have the original card, but I do have two reprints of it.  One is from the Memorial card subset that Calbee did last year to celebrate their 40th Anniversary.  The other is this reprint card that BBM included in an issue of Sports Card Magazine in 1999:

I was amused to discover that this pose has been emulated on a baseball card at least twice.  The first time that I'm aware of is on this 2007 Calbee card (#085) of Shinnosuke Abe:

The second time is from last year's "Hideki Matsui Memorial" set that BBM did (card #26).  Obviously the picture was probably taken before Abe's card but I don't know of any card that used the picture before last year:

Neither pose is an exact replica of Nagashima's but I still think it's pretty cool that Matsui and Abe did a tribute to him.


Sean said...

Good call with spotting the Abe and Matsui cards mimicking the pose, that is actually an interesting thing to do some research on, I wonder if anyone else copied it?

That is also a really interesting fact about Japanese baseball card culture to have uncovered - that there is one iconic card with a unique pose that everyone recognizes. Its quite different from MLB cards where all the big iconic ones (52 Mantle, T206 Wagner, etc) have pretty generic poses.

I will be looking out for those from now on.

NPB Card Guy said...

I lucked into noticing the Abe card in an issue of SCM last year. If I could read Japanese, I might find out if they were mentioning the pose and if they mentioned other cards that did it. It was another card that I couldn't find when I was in Japan but Ryan tracked down for me later.