Sunday, August 7, 2016

Card Of The Week August 7

The National High School Baseball Championship tournament (better known as Summer Koshien) kicked off today in Nishinomiya.  This tournament is hugely popular and many NPB players made a name for themselves here before they became professionals.  In fact, many NPB players manage to have careers based primarily on what they did at Koshien rather than what they did in NPB - Yuki Saitoh and Koji Ohta both come to mind.  The best place to follow the tournament is the Koko Yakyu blog.

I only have a couple cards showing players at Koshien - I'd really love for BBM to do some sort of historic set for the tournament.  First up is Masumi Kuwata.  Kuwata played for PL Gakuen in Osaka and won 20 games at the Koshien (that includes the spring invitational tournament as well) which is second only to Hall Of Famer Masao Yoshida (who had 23 and never played professionally).  Kuwata's team won the summer tournament twice - in 1983 and 1985.  Here's the card from Kuwata's biographical set (2007 BBM "Legend Of Masumi Kuwata") showing him pitching for his high school team:

2007 BBM Legend Of Masumi Kuwata #MK03
Oddly enough, the biographical set for Kuwata's PL Gakuen teammate Kazuhiro Kiyohara does not show him in his high school uniform.

The other card is for Hideki Matsui.  Matsui played in four tournaments (three summer and one spring) for Seiryo High School.  His team never won the tournament but he did pretty well at the plate, hitting several home runs (including one that was the first and maybe only to strike one of the light stands at the ballpark).  He was feared enough as a hitter that he was intentionally walked five times by Meitokugijuku(?) high school in his final game at Koshien.

I'm not sure if the front of this card shows the home run into the light stand...

2002 BBM The Legend Of Hideki Matsui #25
...but I'm pretty confident that the back shows one of the five intentional walks:

2002 BBM The Legend Of Hideki Matsui #25 back

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