Friday, June 12, 2015

Shikoku Island League All Stars

There's a an all star team from the independent Shikoku Island League that is playing a set of games against the teams of the independent Can-Am League.  The first game is tonight in Little Falls, NJ against the New Jersey Jackals.  The roster for the all star team can be found here and the league is streaming the games (as they do all the games of the league) at (registration is required but it is free).

I thought I'd do a quick little summary of what cards the guys on the rosters have, in case anyone wants to try to get something autographed at one of the games.  (Obviously I'm talking NPB cards as I don't know much about what's available for the Shikoku Island teams).

The player with the most experience in NPB is tonight's starting pitcher - Itsuki Shoda.  Shoda was the first round pick for the Fighters in the fall 1999 draft.  He was named Rookie Of The Year in the Pacific League in 2002.  He was traded to the Tigers before the 2007 season and was released by them at the end of 2008.  He spent the next two years with the Sinon Bulls in Taiwan before actually getting an invite to spring training with the Red Sox in 2011.  He didn't make the Red Sox, however, and he ended up spending the season with the Niigata Albirex BC team in the Baseball Challenge League.  He then returned to NPB for the next two years, joining the Swallows.  After being released at the end of 2013, he returned to Taiwan with the Lamigo Monkees but he was let go after two months.  He then signed with the Ehmine Mandarin Pirates of the Shikoku Island League.

Shoda's rookie card is #366 in the 2000 BBM set.  He appears in the 2003-06 BBM 1st Version sets and the 2003-04 and 2007 2nd Version sets and the 2003 Calbee set.  He also appears in the BBM team sets for the Fighters (2004-06), Tigers (2007-08) and Swallows (2012-13).

2013 BBM Swallows #S29
It looks like the only two other players on the roster with any NPB team experience are Takahiro Kawasaki of Kagawa and Noriyuki Kobayashi of Ehmine.  Kawasaki was taken in the fifth round of the fall 2011 draft by the Dragons.  He spent three years in Chunichi's organization, pitching only one inning for the ichi-gun team in that period.  He was released by the Dragons at the end of last year but I think they resigned him as an ikusei player and "dispatched" him to Kagawa for the season.  I'm only aware of five cards for him, all from BBM - 2012 Rookie Edition, 2012 1st Version and the 2012-14 Dragons team sets.

2012 BBM 1st Version #188
Kobayashi has pitched in the Shikoku Island League every year since 2005 with the exception of the two years he spent in the Marines organization (2008-09).  He spent three years with Tokushima, one year with Nagasaki and has spent the last five seasons with Ehmine.  He never appeared in ichi-gun with the Marines (and in fact I'm not sure if he was on the 70 man roster or if he was ikusei) but he did make the BBM Marines team set both years he was with them.  I don't have either of those cards.

There are a trio of Western players on the roster.  Two of them are former collegiate players from America - Edward Brandsema and Tomo Delp.  The other is an Australian pitcher named Drew Naylor who had pitched in the Phillies organization from 2006 to 2010.  He was also a member of the 2009 Australian WBC team and was in the Topps WBC box set that year:

2009 Topps WBC #24
Both the manager and the pitching coach for the team have a lot of NPB experience as well.  Manager Terushi Nakajima played for the 1988 Japanese Olympic baseball team before being drafted in the first round by the Fighters in the fall of 1988.  He had an eight year career in NPB, all with Nippon Ham except his final season which he spent with Kintetsu.  He coached some with Kintetsu, Nippon Ham and the Uni-President 7-11 Lions (Taiwan) before taking over the Tokoshima Indigo Socks last year.  He has cards in the 1989-90 Lotte sets, BBM's "flagship" sets from 1991-1996 and their 1992 All Star set, and Tomy's 1993 and 1994 sets.

1990 Lotte #25
Pitching coach Hiroto Kato signed with the Swallows outside of the draft in 1987.  He spent 13 seasons with Yakult before finishing his career (like Nakajima) with a single season with Kintetsu.  He's spent most of the last 11 seasons coaching in the Shikoku Island League with the exception of the three years he spent as the Swallows ni-gun pitching coach from 2011-13 (where he met Itsuki Shoda and recruited him for Ehmine in 2014).  Kato appears sporadically in BBM's flagship sets during his career (1991-93, 1996-99 and 2001) although since he pitched in both the 1995 and 1997 Nippon Series for the Swallows, he appears in the corresponding Nippon Series sets from BBM.

1997 BBM Nippon Series #S2

This is not a comprehensive list for these players but I tried to hit the highlights of the most common cards you might run across for these guys.  You can get more complete lists over at the Inventory Manager at


Deanna said...

I saw Kobayashi play a few times with the ni-gun Marines team:

As far as I know he was always Ikusei. I used to refer to him as "1-2-3 Kobayashi"...

NPB Card Guy said...

Good to know. I was going by the Google translation of his Japanese wikipediq page but I wasn't sure if I was understanding what I was looking at.

NPB Card Guy said...