Sunday, November 25, 2018

Card Of The Week November 25

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp established a baseball Academy in the Dominican Republic and have had a steady stream of players from it feeding the team.  One of the earliest products of it was Robinson Checo who was an NPB All Star in 1995 and spent a couple years in the Red Sox and Dodgers organizations in the late 90's.  More recent Academy products include Xavier Batitsta and Alejandro Mejia. 

There were two Carp Academy products who both played for the Carp in the late 1990's and went on to play in MLB as well.  The most famous of this pair was Alfonso Soriano who hit over 400 home runs in a 16 year Major League career.  He only played 9 games with the ichi-gun Carp however and there was never a Japanese baseball card of him (this is NOT a real card of him even though I occasionally see it show up other places). 

The other player was Timo Perez who appeared in 227 games with the Carp's top team over four seasons (1996-99).  He left Japan as a free agent and signed with the New York Mets in time for the 2000 season.  He spent most of the season at the Mets' Triple-A team in Norfolk but he was promoted in time to play for New York in the post-season, including the World Series against the Yankees.  He was traded to the White Sox just before the season started in 2004 and was a member of their World Championship team in 2005.  He kicked around for a few years after that in the Reds, Cardinals, Tigers, Dodgers and Phillies organizations before he retired after the 2012 season which he spent with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.

Perez had two cards in Japan that I know of.  Both of them were from Diamond Heroes, BBM's first version of a high end set (which became "Touch The Game" in 2002 and "Genesis" in 2012).  He was card #46 in the 1996 set (which was the first Diamond Heroes set) and #60 in the 1998 set.  The only one of the two that I own is the 1996 card:

I would love to see BBM do an OB set for the Carp that featured players from their Dominican Academy over the years.  It'd be cool to get a legitimate NPB card for Soriano.

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