Sunday, September 15, 2019

RIP Gene Bacque

Former Hashin Tigers pitching great Gene Bacque passed away this weekend at age 82.  The story at the link does a better job summarizing his career than I can so I'll just hit the high points.  He played for the Tigers from 1962-68 and spent a final season in Japan playing for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1969.  He went 29-9 with a 1.88 ERA in 1964 and was the first foreign pitcher to win the Sawamura Award (Kris Johnson of the Carp is the only other foreigner to win the award to date).  He threw a no-hitter against the Yomiuri Giants in 1965 and ended his NPB career with 100 victories.  He's one of only four foreign pitchers with at least 100 wins and is tied with Joe Stanka with more wins by an American.  (If you're wondering, Taiwanese pitchers Taigen Kaku and Genji Kaku are the other two foreign pitchers with over 100 wins - Taigen Kaku has the most with 117.)

There's only one known card of him when he was an active player - a 1967 Kabaya-Leaf card.  BBM only issued one card for him during their first 20 years (although he did have a "Nostalgic Heroes" insert card in the 1999 Tigers set) but he's had a bit of a renaissance in recent years.  He made seven appearances in BBM sets between 2012 and 2017 - about 16 cards in all if you count autographed, parallel and insert cards as well as base set cards.  Here's all the cards I have for him:

1967 Kabaya-Leaf #102

1994 BBM #537

2012 BBM No-hitters #39

2013 BBM Legendary Foreigners #03

2014 BBM 80th Anniversary Pitchers Edition #28

2015 BBM Tigers 80th Anniversary #12

2016 BBM Spirit Of Legends #04

2016 BBM Fusion #034

2017 BBM Fusion #064

2017 BBM Fusion #064 Secret Version


Jon said...

I had never heard of him, big surprise there, but his story certainly is an interesting one. As an aside, those '67 cards with the '59 Topps inspired design sure are attractive, after checking eBay, I see that they're kind of expensive too -- still might have to try and get one at some point though!

NPB Card Guy said...

Yeah, those Kabaya-Leaf cards are really cool.