The Hiroshima Carp were an "expansion" team that came into existence (or at least graduated from amateur to professional status) when professional baseball in Japan moved from the eight teams in one league format of 1949 to the 15 teams in two leagues format of 1950. Like many of the other teams in NBP not named the Lions, Hawks or Giants, it took a while for the Carp to become much of a success. Their first Central League pennant wasn't until 1975 and their first Nippon Series championship wasn't until 1979. They've gone the longest in NPB since their last Series Championship (1984) and their last Central League pennant (1991). So all six Central League pennants and three Nippon Series championships for the Carp came between 1975 and 1991. This is a short enough period that a player could fit all six years into their career, although I don't think anyone quite did it - Manabu Kitabeppu missed the 1975 pennant winner by one year and Koji Yamamoto played for the first five winners and managed the 1991 team.
Now you might not think that 2014 is a round number anniversary year for 1975 but apparently you would be wrong - 2014 is the 40th season since 1975 (if you include 1975) so it would be completely appropriate to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Carp's "First Victory" in 1975. I don't know if the Carp themselves did anything this year to celebrate but Epoch decided to release a box set back in the spring to commemorate it.
Epoch has been releasing a couple box sets a year with the All Japan Baseball Foundation/OB Club/Japanese Baseball Promotion Club since 2009 but for whatever reason they decided this year to release this particular box set on their own. The set came with an autographed card but (as always) I got an opened set with just the base cards.
The base set has 54 cards - 48 player cards and six cards for each year the Carp won the pennant. The 48 cards contain pretty much everyone you'd expect - Yamamoto, Kitabeppu, Sachio Kinugasa, Yutaka Ohno, Yoshiro Sotokoba and Yutaka Enatsu along with some more recent players like Koichi Ogata, Shinji Sasaoka, Kenjiro Nomura and Tomonori Maeda. All three managers from 1975 to 1991 - Takeshi Koba, Junro Anan and Yamamoto - are all included although Yamamoto is depicted as a player. Epoch managed to sign a couple players who didn't show up in any of BBM's OB Carp sets - Shuichi Fukasawa and Shigeki Morioka. Pretty much the only players who are missing are the foreign players - Gail Hopkins, Richie Scheinblum, Adrian Garrett, and Jim Lyttle are the most significant of these.
The cards themselves are pleasant enough - they're a nice sturdy stock. All the photos are pretty much run of the mill shots - a couple are black and white (Fukasawa and Morioka actually) but the majority are color. Probably my biggest gripe would be that the gold embossed lettering doesn't show up in scans very well.
Here's a sample of the cards - you can see all of them either at Jambalaya or Ryan's blog:
|#47 (Koji Yamamoto)|
|#06 (Yutaka Enatsu)|
|#40 (Tomonori Maeda)|
|#07 (Tsuyoshi Ohshita)|
|#49 (1975 Central League Champs)|