Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekly Baseball

Baseball Magazine Sha, the publisher of BBM baseball cards, is primarily a magazine publisher (as you might expect from their name).  I believe that the company was founded in 1946 or 47 (there's a 50th Anniversary card in the 1996 BBM set), some 45 years before they started publishing baseball cards.  In 1958 the company began publishing Shukan (Weekly) Baseball (there was a "40 Years of Shukan Baseball" subset in the 1998 BBM set).

Brief digression - despite the name, I'm not entirely sure how often the magazine comes out - each issue has a number that starts over each year (i.e. the first issue each year is issue #1) but it looks like the last issue in the year has a number like 71.  Looking at the back issues BBM lists for 2013,  there are 51 issues listed and they are skip numbered (there's no #3 for instance).  I don't know if there are issues that aren't listed or if there's some other numbering scheme they are using.

At some point in their history, BBM started inserting cards in occasional issues of Shukan Baseball.  I'm not entirely sure when it started but the earliest card I've found on Yahoo! Japan Auctions is from 2002.  I've started compiling a list of the cards that I'll publish soon.  I've been using the usual sources (Yahoo! Japan Auctions, BBM's website and Jambalaya) for research.

What I've figured out so far is that it looks like recently (since 2010 maybe) the cards have been pretty much straight promo versions of cards from BBM sets.  The more interesting cards are from 2010 and earlier.  There were 10 issues in each of 2013 and 2014 that included baseball cards - each time it was a pair of cards.

I picked up a recent issue (#13 with a cover date of April 6) that had a couple 1st Version promo cards in it (Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hiroki Kuroda) just to check it out.  I was hoping that the issue might contain a list of all the Shukan Baseball cards (like SCM has a list of all the cards they've issued) but it did not.  Here's the front and back of the two cards:

I can't say that these cards get me all that excited.  I'm generally not that interested in promo cards for the sake of promo cards so I probably won't go out of my way to get the magazine again.  I am interested in some of the earlier (2010 and before) cards however.

BBM inserting cards into magazine does not appear to be limited to just Sports Card Magazine and Shukan Baseball.  BBM published a 12 issue series of mooks on Shigeo Nagashima, each one of which contained two exclusive Nagashima cards.  I had picked up a mook about the Hankyu Braves at Shosen Grande when I was in Japan two years ago that contained four promo cards for the 2011 Legend of the Bs set - each card featured a photo that was different than the one in the actual set.  And finally, I believe that the 2009 Legend Player set that appears to have been issued to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the two league sytem was actually distributed in magazines or mooks - it may have actually been Shukan Baseball but I haven't figured it out yet.  It would explain why I never saw the set on BBM's website and why it doesn't appear in the list of BBM sets in the SCM.

I hope to get the list of cards published in the next week or so.

1 comment:

Ryan G said...

Japanese people can be very superstitious about numbers. I'm sure you are familiar with #8 being lucky. I've been in buildings missing entire floor numbers; my coworker's building apartment numbers are skip numbered to avoid unlucky numbers. That could be a possibility.

Without knowing anything about BBM's magazines, the skip numbering could also refer to other magazines issued not-quite under the Weekly Baseball title. Just a guess.

I've seen a lot of Weekly Baseball promos at some card shops, and I'm curious what the earlier ones look like that I might not have seen yet. Many of what I've seen have been promos, even before 2010, and "non-memorabilia" cards. I'm looking forward to that list.

And I saw those Nagashima mooks when they came out. I considered getting one for the cards but the price dissuaded me. I finally found a standard-sized Legend card too relatively recently, but the mini Georgia (coffee) set issued in 2010 used the design as a subset.