Friday, March 30, 2012

RIP Kihachi Enomoto

Former Orion player Kihachi Enomoto passed away two weeks ago from colon cancer, although the news was just made public in the last couple days.  He played for the Orions from 1955 to 1971 (during which they were known as the Mainichi, the Daimai, the Tokyo and finally the Lotte Orions).  He finished his career with the Lions in 1972.

Enomoto had over 2000 hits in his career, making him eligible for the Meikyukai, however, he is one of only two players to decline membership (Hiromitsu Ochiai is the other).  He is not a member of the Hall Of Fame.

Here's a couple of his recent OB cards:

2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #040

2006 BBM Nostalgic Baseball #039

2009 BBM Legend Players #032

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Card Of The Week March 25

I won this card with a couple other mid-1950's bromides a few months ago on eBay.  They don't appear to be listed in Gary Engel's Checklist so I'm pretty much at a loss for identifying anyone on the cards.

The uniforms the Carp players are wearing dates the picture to the 1956-57 seasons.  I'm wondering if this is from some sort of intersquad game as there are two different uniform jersey's being worn - the pinstriped ones and the ones with "Hiroshima" on the left sleeve.  It looks like all the players are wearing pinstriped pants.  ("History Of Uniform" shows both jerseys as being the home ones worn in 1956 and 1957 - the text probably explains why there's two different home jerseys but I can't read it - I was happy that I figured out that the three characters on the top of the picture said "Carp".  Well, I think they do anyway...)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

1996 BBM Set

1995 BBM Set Summary

Size:  655 656 cards
Cards Per Team:  42 (team card, manager + 40 players)
Team Card Theme:  Oendan Sections?
Number Of Leader Cards: 31
Checklists: 12 13
Subsets: 95 Record Breakers (9 cards); 10 Best Hitters (10 cards), 10 Best Pitchers (10 cards), Masaaki Saitoh Puzzle (9 cards), Akira Etoh puzzle (9 cards), Nostalgic Special (10 cards - 5 cards each for the retirements of Tatsunori Hara and Akinobu Mayumi) BBM 50th Anniversary(1 card?), Freetime(3 cards?), Combo cards(5 cards?)
Inserts:  Magic Motion
Parallels:  10 Best Hitter and Pitcher subsets have gold print parallel
Notable Rookies:  Masahiro Araki, Yasuhiko Yabuta, Tuffy Rhodes
Late Series:  Chunichi Dragons (cards 614-655 replaced cards 93-114, 330-342, 480-486, 533 and 591) plus Checklist #13 (card 656)


This is the BBM set that I have the fewest cards from - probably only around 70 or so.  Because I have so few, I'm making a lot of guesses about the content.

This is the first BBM set to really not have any sort of OB subset.  The closest thing is the "Nostalgic Special" subset that features five cards a piece for the retirements of Tatsunori Hara and Akinobu Mayumi in 1994.


There's also a single card dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of Baseball Magazine (BBM).


I'm guessing about the Freetime subset and the combination cards - I don't have any of the cards so I'm basing this off of the checklist and what Collecting Ichiro lists.  I think the Freetime subset shows a couple players (Atsuya Furuta, Ichiro and Kazuhiro Kiyohara) in street clothes.  The combination cards feature two or more players (obviously).  One of them shows Ichiro and Kenjiro Nomura.

The 95 Record Makers subset features nine players who set some sort of record in 1995 - Koji Noda, Yukihiro Nishizaki, Hiromitsu Ochiai, Yoshinori Satoh, Terry Bross, Kenjiro Nomura, Masafumi Hirai, Ichiro and Hiroki Kokubo.  The subset was also available as an uncut sheet.

BBM included two 10 card subsets featuring the best hitters and best pitchers respectively.  The hitters (of which I have none) were Hiromitsu Ochiai, Ichiro, Tomonori Maeda, Atsuya Furuta, Akira Etoh, Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Kenjiro Nomura, Koji Akiyama, Hiromi Matsunaga and Hiroo Ishii.  The pitchers were Masaki Saitoh, Masumi Kuwata, Kazuhisa Ishii, Shinji Imanaka, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Masafumi Hirai, Koji Noda, Motoyuki Akahori, Kimiyasu Kudoh and Hideki Irabu.

There were two nine card puzzle subsets - one for Masaki Saitoh and one for Akira Etoh.

#601 front
#601 back
The 1996 set is a bit light on significant rookies.  It does feature Tuffy Rhodes' first Japanese card, but that's not really a rookie card.

The Late Series cards this season featured the Dragons, who were celebrating their 60th Anniversary that year.  The new Dragons cards show them in their uniforms with the 60th Anniversary commemorative patch on the sleeve.  The 60th Anniversary logo was also added to each card.

The only insert card set this year was called "Magic Motion" and featured "SportsFlic"-like multi-image pictures of 12 players (one from each team).  The 12 players were Atsuya Furuta, Akira Etoh, Hideki Matsui, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Shinji Imanaka, Toshiro Yufune, Ichiro, Hideki Irabu, Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Yukio Tanaka, Kimiyasu Kudoh and Motoyuki Akahori.

Some additional sample cards:


Back of card #117 (Hideki Igarashi)



Scratch Game Card inserted into every pack


UPDATE: On my trip to Japan last March, I was able to pick up a couple examples from the subsets I was missing.  Here's the front and back of a "Freetime" card of Kazuhiro Kiyohara (#280), a combination card of Makoto Sasaki and Koji Akiyama (#284) and a 10 Best Hitters card of Hiromitsu Ochiai (#552):

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Card Of The Week March 18

I recently discovered that Arihito Muramatsu spent most of his first year in professional baseball with the Salinas Spurs of the California League in 1991. The Spurs had a working agreement with the Hawks in the early 1990's and had a number of Japanese players (as well as manager Hide Koga). Here's Muramatsu's card from the 1991 Classic Spurs team set (#10):

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rob Fitts On The Radio

While I was listening to the radio today, I heard a promo for this week's edition of Only A Game that mentioned that they'd be discussing Babe Ruth's 1934 Tour of Japan.  I turned to my daughter and said "Hey, I know the guy they're going to be talking to!"  I got an email from Rob later on confirming that he was going to be on the show.

You can check here for when your local NPR station might be running the show.  It's also broadcast on the SiriusXM public radio channel as well as being available as a podcast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

BBM Regular Set Posts Update

As I expect, I've gotten behind in doing the posts for the regular sets.  I'll get back to them in the next few weeks.

One thing that I've realized, however, is that if I really want them to be the "definitive" posts for the sets, I should include in them scans of any boxes or wrappers that I have for each set.  The other thing I should do is show what the backs of the cards looked like.  So I'm going back and adding scans to the previous posts to add this stuff.  I'm also trying out a new scanner that I borrowed from a friend so the scans will look a little different (hopefully better) than what I had out there previously.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Card Of The Week March 11

There was a question in the comments to this post the other day asking if the commemorative cards celebrating the 40th Anniversary for Calbee (and reprinting older cards) were the same size as the current cards since Calbee's card sizes have changed several times over the years.  I don't know what they are doing this year, but I do know that when they had similar commemorative cards to celebrate their 30th Anniversary in 2002, they used a smaller reproduction of the card surrounded by a grey frame.

Here's an example.  First, the original front and back of Shinji Sasaoka's 1991 card (#6):

Now, his 2002 "Memorial Card" (#M-08):

It may be hard to tell from the scans, but both cards are the same height.  The 1991 card is about a quarter inch narrower than the 2002 card.

2012 BBM Team Sets

BBM announced the first four 2012 team sets last week - the Swallows, the Buffaloes, the Hawks and the Golden Eagles.  Each set is a pack-based set featuring 99 cards along with insert and memorabilia (jersey and autograph) cards.  There's also some mention of the "cross-brand" series (Cross Blaze?) but it's not clear to me how many cards are included.  The four sets will be released between late March and mid-April.

In addition, AmiAmi has listings for the Spring Version of the Tokyo Big Six set (37 card box set) and a 28 card box set called "Diamond Age 1989" which I'm guessing will feature players born in 1989 (as a follow up to last year's set for 1988.  (Perhaps they are attempting to pretend that last year's set was not simply an excuse to have another set with Yuki Saitoh in it?)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Card Of The Week March 4

I finally finished my 2007 Japanese Collegiate All Star set (which were jersey card inserts into boxes of the 2008 Upper Deck Team USA set) a few months back.  As expected, this card (#JN-16) is the one that set me back the most:

Yu-chan ran me around $35 on eBay.

It was somewhat surprising to me that this was not the last card I needed to get.  For some reason, it seemed impossible for a while to find the card of Takeshi Ogino.  I had won a card from someone on eBay but he never sent it.  I was finally able to get it from the sports memorabilia section on

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2012 Calbee Series One

Calbee posted information the other day about their first series for 2012.  As usual, they've put the checklist on line.  The unusual thing about this year's "regular" Calbee cards is that there are 73 of them which is NOT evenly divisible by 12.  Typically, the normal Calbee (and BBM) issues have the same number of cards per team.  This Calbee series has six cards for each team EXCEPT the Swallows, who have seven.  The extra Swallows card is of manager Junji Ogawa.

Calbee is celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year and they've added a subset of reprints of old Calbee cards.  The subset contains 13 cards and features Shigeo Nagashima, Sadaharu Oh and 11 of the 12 current NBP managers.  The reprinted cards aren't necessarily their rookie cards, simply cards from when they were players.  The one manager who is not in the subset is Junji Ogawa, which (according to a note at the bottom of the checklist page) is why he's included in the regular set.

The other subsets (or insert sets) for the set are the Title Holder (T) which features 22 2011 statistical leaders (and pointedly does not include a card for PL Strikeout leader Yu Darvish) and the Star Card (S) which feature 24 cards (2 for each team, no Ogawa) of star players.  There's also a four card checklist subset that appear to feature highlights of the 2011 post season.

The cards will be released around March 26.