Friday, June 10, 2016

Shikoku Island League All Stars 2 - Electric Bugaloo

For the second year in a row the independent Shikoku Island League has sent an all star team to North America to take on teams from the independent Can-Am League.  They kicked off the games last night (June 9) with a 7-1 drubbing of the Sussex County Miners in Augusta, New Jersey.

I thought I'd once again take a look at the roster of the team and see who has NPB baseball cards in case anyone's interested in going out to the ballpark and getting any cards autographed.

Like last year, there actually aren't many players who have NPB cards.  Eight of the players on the team were on last year's team but the only one who has any baseball cards is pitcher Itsuki Shoda from the Ehime Mandarin Pirates.  Terushi Nakajima returns as manager also and he had a large number of NPB cards that I listed last year.  (I'm actually a little disappointed that Kochi Fighting Dogs manager Norihiro Komada is not managing the team as I would love to get an autograph from him.)

It appears that the only other player with any NPB baseball cards is pitcher Junki Kishimoto of the Kagawa Olive Guyners.  Kishimoto was the first pick in the fall 2013 ikusei draft by the Dragons and spent 2014-15 with the team.  He had cards in the 2014 BBM Rookie Edition (#074) and Dragons (#D70) sets.

2014 BBM Rookie Edition #074

The two coaches for the team both have NPB experience.  Pitching coach Hidenori Itoh from Kagawa had been drafted by Yakult in the 1st round of the fall 2006 ikusei draft.  He was moved to the 70 man roster the following spring and was on the Opening Day roster that year.  He spent most of that season at ni-gun however and was released following the 2008 season.  He did however have baseball cards in the 2007 BBM 2nd Version set (#725  in the 1st Version Update subset) the 2007 BBM Rookie Edition Premium set (#RP27) and the 2008 BBM Swallows set (#S24).

2007 BBM 2nd Version #725
Hitting coach Hironori Suguro from the Kochi Fighting Dogs spent 12 seasons in NPB.  He was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the fall 1986 draft and debuted with the ichi-gun team in 1988 after spending the entire 1987 season with the farm team.  He was traded to the Orix Blue Wave for Terumitsu Kumano following the 1991 season.  He played in both the 1995 and 1996 Nippon Series for the team before being sold to Kintetsu in time for the 1997 season.  He retired from the Buffaloes following the 1999 season and has coached for the (Kintetsu) Buffaloes, Hawks and Giants as well as a couple independent league teams in the years since then.

The SportsCardForum,com Inventory Manager lists 25 cards for Suguro including three Calbee cards from 1989, Takara team set cards from 1991 to 1998, and BBM flagship set cards from 1992 to 1999.  He also appeared in the 1993 Tomy ID set, the 1995 and 1996 BBM Nippon Series sets and the 1996 BBM Diamond Heroes set.

1997 BBM #355
There's a couple other players of note on the roster.  There are two Westerners - Barrett Phillips and Zach Colby, both from the Kochi Fighting Dogs.  Phillips pitched briefly in the Pirates organization in 2010 and has been in Indy ball ever since.  Colby has had almost no professional experience - he played for Joliet in the Frontier League in 2013.  Yusuke Matsuzaka was drafted in the first round of the ikusei draft last fall by the Giants but did not sign.

All the Shikoku Island League All Star team games (as well as all the games from the Can-Am League) can be seen for free at the

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