Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Card Of The Week March 29

As you all already know, Daisuke Matsuzaka was named MVP of this year's World Baseball Classic, even though everyone (including Daisuke) thinks it should have been Hisashi Iwakuma. Here's a card from the first time that Matsuzaka suited up for his country, the 2000 Olympics:

2001 Calbee #J-07

Saturday, March 28, 2009

2009 BBM Kazuhiro Kiyohara Tribute Set

The other tribute set that BBM published this winter was for Kazuhiro Kiyohara. This is a 46 card box set - 45 regular cards and 1 possible autograph/memorabilia card. As usual, I got an opened set without the extra card.

The set is pretty nice although not as nice as the Oh set. There are 18 cards covering his time with the Lions, another 18 cards for his Giants years and a final nine cards for his brief career with the Buffaloes. Here's some example cards - numbers 14 (with Koji Akiyama), 15, 31 and 39:

2009 BBM Sadaharu Oh Tribute Set

Back in Janary, BBM put out a box set as a tribute to Sadaharu Oh. I picked up an opened set (no autograph or memorabilia card) the other day. It's an amazing 89 card set set filled with great photography that covers his 50 years as both player and manager of the Giants and Hawks.

The set basically contains five subsets. The first of these is the nine card "Legend Of Sadaharu Oh". These cards have borderless photos on both sides that depict events in Oh's career such as his 756th and 800th home runs, and managing the 1999 Nippon Series champion Hawks. There's also a card of him with Shigeo Nagashima and one showing him practicing his swing with a samurai sword. Here's the front and back of the card celebrating his 756th home run (#01):

The next subset is the nine card "Flamingo" subset. The front of each card depicts Oh in his iconic flamingo batting stance. The back of the cards forms a sequence showing his swing when the cards are laid out sequentially. Here's the front of card 18 and the sequence created from the backs of cards 16, 17 and 18:

The next subset is the largest - the 53 card "History" subset devoted covering his career. Here's a couple cards showing him working out as a pitcher in 1959 (#21), celebrating home run #800 in 1978 (#49) and his farewell last October (#71):

The next subset of nine cards is the "Face" subset. The front of the cards show pictures of Oh's face. The backs are labeled "Smile" and show pictures of Oh smiling. Here's the front and back of card #80. That looks like Wally Yonamine in the "Smile" picture:

The final subset is another nine card subset entitled "Big One Shot". These show some more great photos. Here's card #81, showing Oh and Shigeo Nagashima:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tonight's Pitching Matchup

Just for fun, here are cards of tonight's starters:

(2001 Multi-Ad Myrtle Beach Pelicans Team set #3, 2000 BBM #388)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Card Of The Week March 22

A card of Kim In Sik, the manager of South Korea's WBC team back when he managed the Doosan Bears. He currently manages the Hanwha Eagles.

1999 Teleca #28

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2009 Fighters and Tokyo Big 6 sets

BBM's website this week unveiled information on two new sets: the 2009 Fighters team set and the Tokyo Big 6 Spring set.

The Fighters team set will be released in April. Like the rest of the team sets, it's a pack-based set with 99 regular cards, 15 possible inserts and the usual assorted memorabilia/autograph cards.

The Tokyo Big 6 set is a sixty card box set featuring players from the Tokyo Big 6 Collegiate Baseball League. Each of the six teams will have 9 cards of players plus 1 team card. This was a pretty cool set last year, and I'm looking forward to it again this year.

BBM also updated their web pages for the Eagles and Marines team sets to include pictures of sample cards.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Career Home Run Leaders #7 (tie) - Isao Harimoto

Tied for seventh on the all time list with Sachio Kinugasa is Isao Harimoto. Harimoto hit 504 home runs during his 22 year career. Like Kinugasa, he is better known for something other than the home runs. In his case, it's that he is the only NPB player with more than 3000 hits. (Ichiro has more than 3000 between NPB and MLB.)

Harimoto broke into NPB in 1959 with the Toei Flyers. Here's his 1960 Yamakatsu "Home Plate Back" menko card:

1961 Marusan menko:

1967 Kabaya-Leaf #409:

He continued playing for the Flyers through their name/ownership changes (Nittaku Home Flyers, Nippon Ham Fighters) through the mid 1970's. Here's his 1974/75 Calbee (#773) card:

In 1976 he joined the Giants and played along side Sadaharu Oh for four years. Here's a 1975/76 Calbee card (#1252) showing the two of them:

1977 Yamakatsu:

1978 Yamakatsu:

He left the Giants for the Lotte Orions in 1980 and finished his career with them in 1981. Here's a 1980 Yamakatsu card:

He got his 3000th hit on May 28th, 1980. Here's the "The Scene" insert card from the 2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 set (#S-07) commemorating this:

Harimoto is my all time favorite NPB player. That card in the upper right corner of the blog is his 1963 Marusho menko card. The card at the top of the post is #829 from the 2002 BBM 2nd Version set.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Card Of The Week March 15

Just for the record, I don't see the resemblance.

1985 Calbee #33

I don't think he looks like this either...

WBC Comments

Just a couple of comments while I continue to cuss out XM for not broadcasting the WBC games:

- I enjoyed listening to Orestes Destrade on ESPN's coverage of the games from Japan. It's nice to hear someone who has some knowledge of the Japanese game. Destrade played for the Lions from 1989-92 and then again briefly in 1995. Here's his 1995 BBM card (#295):

- I am tired of hearing about how Tatsunori Hara has big shoes to fill following Sadaharu Oh as manager of the Japanese team. Has anyone looked at his history? When Hara debuted with the Giants in 1981, who did he replace in the Giants lineup? When he became Giants manager in 2002, who did he replace? This is not the first time Hara has followed someone more famous than him and if Japan fails to repeat as WBC Champ I doubt very much that this will have been a reason. Here's Hara's 1983 Calbee card (#583):

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Career Home Run Leaders #7 (tie) - Sachio Kinugasa

There's a tie for seventh place on the All Time Career Home Run Leader list. Both Sachio Kinugasa and Isao Harimoto hit 504 home runs during their careers.

Sachio Kinugasa is best known for being the first player to ever pass Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak. Like Gehrig, he ended his streak when he ended his career, although thankfully he didn't end his career for similar reasons. Cal Ripken has since passed Kinugasa's 2215 game streak.

Kinugasa spent his entire career with the Carp. He came up in 1965, although he didn't become a regular until 1968. His consecutive game streak began in 1970 and ended with his retirement in 1987.

1977 Yamakatsu:

1985 Calbee (#200):

This 2008 BBM Hiromshima Memorial card (#15) celebrates his passing of Gehrig:

2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #066:

(The card at the top of this post is 2002 BBM 2nd Version #830)

Card Of The Week March 8

With two home runs and five RBI's, Shuichi Murata is off to a great start in the WBC. Here's his 2003 BBM Rookie Edition card (#40) from when he was freshly drafted by the BayStars:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Career Home Run Leaders #9 - Katsuo Ohsugi

Number 9 on the All Time Home Run list is Katsuo Ohsugi (or Osugi) with 486. Ohsugi started playing in 1965 with the Toei Flyers. He remained with the team as it changed hands and names to first the Nittaku Home Flyers and then the Nippon Ham Fighters. He moved to the Yakult Swallows for the 1975 season and played for them until he retired following the 1983 season. Sadly, he passed away at age 47 of liver cancer in 1992.

I think I have fewer cards of Ohsugi than of anyone else on this list. The following TCMA card (#19) is the only card I have of him that was produced during his career:

2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #402:

2002 BBM All Time Heroes #057:

(The card at the top of this post is 2002 BBM 2nd Version #831)

Eagles and Marines Team sets

BBM announced today that it will be releasing the 2009 Eagles and Marines team sets on March 28. Each pack based set will have 99 cards containing cards of all the players on both the ichi-gun and ni-gun rosters, as well as at least the manager (Lotte's set might include some of the coaches as well), along with various subsets. Each set will also have parallel issues, Shining Star inserts and possible jersey and autographed cards.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Card Of The Week March 1

I noticed the other day that on the back of this Topps card of Ichiro can be found the following: "He's the first MLB player in history to be a member of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame".

Well, no, that's not true. Ichiro is NOT a member of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. What Ichiro is a member of is the Meikyukai or "Golden Players Club". Other members of the club with MLB experience are Hideki Matsui, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Shingo Takatsu. I'm not sure he was even the first of this group - Sasaki would have had over 250 saves when the 250 save criteria was added in 2003 while Ichiro didn't have over 2000 hits until 2004.

Ichiro's not even going to be the first MLB player to ever be inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall Of Fame - Lefty O'Doul is already in.

But besides that, it's a good looking card... And the WBC kicks off Thursday!

2008 Topps WBC Preview set #WBC10