Monday, May 18, 2015

Recent Epoch Sets

Continuing with the box sets I got from Ryan last week...

Epoch has issued two new OB box sets in the last six months, neither of which were done in conjunction with the Japan Baseball Promotion Association.  The first one of these was 46 card set that was issued last November called something like "Giants V9 Glorious Victory".  The set was a tie-in with the Giants 80th Anniversary last season (the third and final set following the Front Runner Giants Stars & Legends set and the BBM Giants 80th Anniversary set) and commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the V9 Giants.  For those who don't know (and even for those who do), "V9 Giants"is the name for the Giants team that won nine straight Nippon Series between 1965 and 1973.

The 46 cards each feature a different player from the Giants' teams of that era.  I haven't done a serious study, but I believe that it's a fairly comprehensive list.  The set includes all the guys you'd expect - Sadaharu Oh, Shigeo Nagashima, Isao Shibata, Tsuneo Horiuchi, Masahiko (Masaaki) Mori and Shozo Doi - plus a lot of guys who were very much bit players such as Isao Ohhashi, who got into around 220 games for Yomiuri between 1963 and 1968.  It's probably safe to say that for guys like Ohhashi and Yusaku Akimoto this set may contain their first baseball card ever (the V9 era overlaps the "dead zone" in Japanese baseball card history between the end of the menko era in 1964 and the first Calbee issue in 1973).  This set also contains a card for Masaichi Kaneda, making it the only set of the three Giants 80th Anniversary sets to feature him.

While I like the set quite a bit, I think it could have been a little bit better.  It would have been nice to have had cards for the Giants' manager during this time period (Tetsuharu Kawakami) as well as at least one of the team's coaches - Hall Of Famer Shigeru Makino who has no modern cards.  A subset devoted to each Nippon Series would have been nice as well.  But these are minor quibbles.

Here's some example cards:




As always, Jambalaya has all the cards on line and Ryan did a post on this set a few months back.

The second recent Epoch set came out about a month or two ago.  The Hanshin Tigers are celebrating their 80th Anniversary this season and coincidentally are also celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their sole Nippon Series Championship in 1985.  While BBM is taking care of the former celebration (and I'm hoping to have a post up on that set later this week), Epoch is handing the latter celebration with a 45 card box set entitiled "Tigers Nippon Champions 1985".  43 of the cards in the set feature the players, coaches and manager (Yoshio Yoshida) for the 1985 team.  Like the Giants V9 set, this includes both stars - Randy Bass, Akinobu Okada, Masayuki Kakefu and Akinobu Mayumi - as well as players who's roles were much more minor - like Koichi Hattori who only appeared in 14 games during the 1985 season.  I've only found five players from the team who are not in the set - Rich Gale, Masashi Fujiwara, Hideaki Sato, Eiju Tsukiyama and Shinichi Yamauchi.  (All the missing players except Tsukiyama appeared in BBM's 2013 Tigers Legend set that covered this period of time and ironically Yamauchi appeared in the V9 Giants set!)  The biggest name in the coaches for the team was Hall Of Fame pitcher Tetsuya Yoneda.

The other two cards in the set are a card dedicated to the 3-4-5 hitters in the Tigers lineup that season (Bass, Kakefu and Okada) and a card showing the Tigers' celebration after winning the Series.

Here's some example cards:



One item of interest - Randy Bass is the first Westerner to appear in any of Epoch's box sets since 2009.

Jambalaya has all the cards on line here.

And I think it would be appropriate to mention here that I've added a list of all of Epoch's box sets to the Set Index.

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