Sunday, August 10, 2014

2009 BBM Masaichi Kaneda Set

In late 2008 through 2009, BBM issued a series of three biographical box sets they called the "Legend Series".  The first two were for two greats who had retired at the end of the 2008 season - Sadaharu Oh and Kazuhiro Kiyohara.  The third (and final) set was for Masaichi Kaneda.  I'd been back-and-forth about getting this set for years but I finally decided to pick it up earlier this year.  I'm glad I did as it's a nice set.

I have to say though that I have no idea why BBM decided to do a Kaneda set in 2009 and, given that Kaneda rarely appears in an OB set, I have no idea why Kaneda agreed to do it (well, other than my favorite Krusty the Clown quote - "They drove a dump truck full of money up to my front door! I'm not made of stone!").  Like almost all BBM box sets, this one has x number of cards in it where x-1 cards are in the base set and the other card is a "special" card - parallel, autograph or memorabilia.  In this particular case, x = 35 and I'm not sure what "special" cards were available.  As usual, I got an opened set.

Having 34 cards in the base set works out well as 34 was the number that Kaneda wore during his career (including his two stints as Lotte Orion manager).  The first 19 cards in the set cover his days with the Kokutetsu Swallows from 1950 to 1964.  This includes a couple cards of him in street clothes.  Unlike some of BBM's other biographical sets, there are no childhood pictures of Kaneda in the set.




 Card #08 commemorates Shigeo Nagashima's first professional game, where Kaneda struck him out four times.  Two of the other cards celebrate the two no-hitters he pitched for the Swallows.

10 of the base cards deal with the five years he spent with the Giants from 1965 to 1969, the first five seasons of the Giants V9 stretch.  These five championships were the only ones of his career, as the Swallows were pretty pathetic during most of his years with them.  There are cards commemorating his 400th (and final) win in 1969 and his retirement ceremony on Opening Day of 1970.  This card shows him getting the final out of the 1967 Nippon Series:

Four of the remaining five cards deal with his days as Lotte Orions manager during the 1970's (nothing for his return in 1990 and 1991).  The fifth card is for his Hall Of Fame induction in 1988, which I used for Card Of The Week a few months back.


Card #30 is the only color card in the entire set.  Card #34 shows the victory parade in downtown Sendai for Lotte's championship in 1974.

You can see all the cards here.  I really like the photography in the set and the cards have a very clean, unobtrusive design.

One card in the Kokutetsu cards kind of stands out - this one showing Kaneda and another player wearing Japan National Team uniforms.  I don't know for sure what this is from - the History Of Uniform indicates that the uniforms were worn in 1951, 1953 and 1956.  I think this picture is from 1956.  I don't know if these were worn during the post season tours by MLB teams.  The Dodgers toured Japan in 1956 but none of the pictures I've seen from the tour show these uniforms.


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