Sunday, April 26, 2015

Card Of The Week April 26

Kenny Ray of the Eagles did something no one else has ever done before this past week - he became the first pitcher in his 40's to win his first four starts of the season.  The previous record of three was set by Lotte's Choji Murata in 1990.

This is Ray's second stint in Japan.  He had previously pitched for the Eagles in 2013, making five appearances (including three starts) down the stretch.  He also contributed five scoreless innings in the post season.

I was kind of surprised to discover there are almost no Japanese cards of Ray prior to this year.  It looks like he didn't sign with the Eagles until mid way through the 2013 season (his first appearance with the ichi-gun team was in mid-July) so he didn't make it into any of BBM's sets that you might expect to find him in - 1st Version, 2nd Version or the Eagles team set.  He's also not in the Eagles team issued card set.  I was kind of surprised to see that he did not appear in the "First Crown" box set that BBM issued to celebrate the Eagles' first ever pennant.  And since the 2014 BBM Eagles 10th Anniversary set only had a "Best 9" for the 2013 team, he didn't make that set either.  According to the work that Jason's done over at SportsCardForum, the only Japanese card of Ray from 2013 was from the fourth series of Owners League cards that year (#119).  He is in the new 2015 BBM 1st Version set (#140) as well as the BBM Eagles team set (#E18).

Had BBM continued to do Nippon Series sets, he would have had a card in the 2013 edition of that set.

I don't have any of his Japanese cards yet (although I'll have the 2015 1st Version card in a couple weeks) but while looking into his background, I did discover I have two minor league cards for him.  I used to spend a lot of time rooting for the Wilmington Blue Rocks and I found that I have a card of him from their 1995 team set (from Choice) as well as a card of him from a set the team did in 2000 celebrating former Blue Rocks who had made it to the majors:

1995 Choice Wilmington Blue Rocks #24

2000 Choice Blue Rocks In The Show #30

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