Friday, August 19, 2011

2011 Epoch All Japan Baseball Foundation 1987 set

Following up the popularity of their 1977 set late last year, the All Japan Baseball Foundation released a set last spring celebrating the 1987 season.  The set contained 59 "regular" cards - 48 player cards, 10 cards for highlights of 1987 and one checklist card.

I'm not sure what the criteria was for selecting the players for the set, but there seems to be some major omissions.  Neither MVP (Kazuhiro Yamakura and Osamu Higashio) appears in the set and the CL Rookie Of The Year Yukio Arai does not either.  Only the Sawamura (Masumi Kuwata) and the PL Rookie Of The Year (Hideyuki Awano) are in the set.  Only four members of the CL Best 9 and five members of the PL Best 9 are in the set.  Part of the problem is that (like the 1977 set) there are no gaijin included, so no Boomer Wells, Tony Brewer, Warren Cromartie, Bob Horner, Randy Bass, Rick Lancellotti or Carlos Ponce.  No Kimyasu Kudoh, Tsutomu Itoh, or Hiromitsu Ochiai either.  It's hard to do a comprehensive set for a season when you leave out half the significant players.

The set does include cards for Tatsunori Hara, Sachio Kinugasa, Koji Akiyama, Yutaka Ohno, Hiromi Matsunaga, Norifumi Nishimura, Hiromasa Arai, Hiromichi Ishige, Yukihiro Nishizaki and Hiromi Makihara.  Here's a couple samples:

#33 Koji Akiyama

#31 Yoshio Mizukami (note that his uniform number in the picture differs from the one on the card - the picture is from no later than 1981, not 1987.  I know, picky, picky, picky...)

The cards featuring highlights of 1987 include two cards celebrating Sachio Kinugasa breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak and one card each for Hideji Kato's 2000th hit, Toshio Shinozuka's CL batting championship, the Central League Champion Giants, the Pacific League Champion Lions and the Nippon Series Champion Lions.  There's also cards for each of the pennant winning managers (Sadaharu Oh for the Giants and Masaaki Mori for the Lions) - the pictures on these two cards are repeated on the checklist card.  There's also a card commemorating that 1987 was the final season for Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo - the picture shows the newly built Tokyo Dome visible outside the ballpark.  Here's a couple examples:

#55 Korakuen Stadium Finale

#50 Kinugasa passes Gehrig
You can see all the cards here.

So I guess I'd have to say that I'm a little disappointed in this set.  I really liked the 1977 set but this one isn't nearly as good.

No comments: