Saturday, October 4, 2008

BBM Hawks 70th Anniversary set

I picked up the new BBM Hawks 70th Anniversary set the other day. It's a very cool set.

A little history on the Hawks: According to Japan Baseball Daily and their Wikipedia article, the Hawks started paly in 1938 as simply Nankai, named for the company that owned them. Their name changed a couple of times in the next few years to Kinki Nihon and then Kinki Great Ring until it settled on the Nankai Hawks in 1947. The Hawks joined the Pacific League when the two league system started in 1950 and won 10 league championships and two Nippon Series in the next 25 years. They played their home games in Osaka Stadium.

Following the 1988 season, Nankai sold the team to Daiei, who moved them to Heiwadai Stadium in Fukuoka and changed their name to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. They moved into the Fukuoka Dome in 1993. They won an additional three Pacific League pennants and two Nippon Series championships before Daiei sold the team to Softbank after the 2004 season.

The set has 99 cards. There are six "History Of Hawks" cards, 66 cards of OB players (well, some current ex-Hawks are included), 18 cards of current Hawks players (including manager Sadaharu Oh) and nine cards of current Hawks players wearing turn-back-the-clock uniforms. Most of the players are wearing Nankai Hawks uniforms, but Toshiya Sugiuchi is shown in a Daiei uniform.

The OB players include most of the greats from Hawks history - Tadashi Sugiura, Hiromitsu Kadota, Kazuto Tsuruoka, Yutaka Enatsu, Joe Stanka, and Koji Akiyama as well as current MLB players Kenji Johjima and Tadahito Iguchi. Noticeably missing from the set, however, is Katsuya Nomura, who only hit something like 630 home runs for the Hawks between 1954 and 1977 as well as managing them from 1970 to 1977. The omission is really my only quibble with the set.

Here's some example cards. That's one of the "History Of Hawks" cards (#04 which I think is showing the final Nankai game in Osaka Stadium); the OB cards of Kazuo Horii (#09), Don Blasingame (#26), Hiroshi Fujimoto (#45), and Kimiyasu Kudoh (#67); the 2008 Hawks card of Tsuyoshi Wada (#77) and the "Turn Back The Clock" card of Hiroshi Shibahara (#99).

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