Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bobby Rose

Last season Justin mentioned to me that former Yokohama Baystars star Bobby Rose was the batting coach for the Down East Wood Ducks of the Carolina League.  As I've mentioned before I'm not a big autograph guy but occasionally I'll take advantage of an opportunity to get an autograph and with the Blue Rocks of Wilmington, Delaware not far from my home (and a place I used to go all the time) I figured it would be easy to get Rose's autograph.  Unfortunately the only time "Down East" (who play in Kinston, NC) was in Wilmington last season was the last week of August which was when I was having back surgery.  So I couldn't do it last season.  This season Rose is the batting coach for the Delmarva Shorebirds of the South Atlantic League who play in Salisbury, Maryland about two hours from my house.

So two weeks ago my wife and I headed down to Salisbury, stopped off at a great brew pub on the way and caught a game between the Shorebirds (an Orioles affliate) and the Lakewood Blue Claws (a Phillies affiliate).  We got there early and I planted myself by the tunnel where the Shorebirds players and coaches entered the field.  I didn't have to wait too long - he was the first member of the coaching staff to come out.  He was very patient and gracious as I dealt first with a sharpie that had dried up (had to borrow one from another fan) and then when I fumbled with my phone trying to take a picture.  But I got a great autograph on a card from one of my favorite sets so it's all good:

Here's the picture I got of him:

I thought I'd do a brief post on Rose since I got the autograph.  Rose joined the Baystars in 1993 after eight years in the Angels organization.  He got into 73 MLB games with the Angels between 1989-1992.  He immediately became a star for the Baystars, hitting .325 and leading the Central League in RBIs with 94.  He ended up spending eight years with the Baystars, hitting over .300 every season except 1994 and helping the team to a Nippon Series championship in 1998.  His best season was 1999 when he hit .369 with 37 home runs and 153 RBIs (2nd best season total in NPB history).  Over his eight year career he was named to the All Star team four times (1995, 1997, 1999, 2000), elected to the Best 9 team six times (1993, 1995, 1997-2000) and won a Golden Glove in 1998.  He was MVP of the second All Star game in 1999.  He lead the league in batting in 1999, RBIs in 1994 and 1999, OBP in 1997 and hits in 1999 and 2000.

His relationship with the Baystars soured after the 2000 season though as he and the team could not agree on a salary.  As an odd side effect of this, he ended up not having cards in the Leader subset and Best Nine insert set for the 2001 BBM set.  It is not unusual for a player to have cards in these subsets despite not having a card in the rest of the set.  To use the 2001 BBM set as an example, Ichiro has two Leader subset cards and cards in both the Best 9 and Golden Glove insert sets despite not appearing in the rest of the set as he was in his first season in Seattle that year.  I don't know why he didn't have cards - if it was his decision or BBM's.  I would have loved to have asked him about it at Delmarva but it didn't seem like an appropriate setting.

Rose attempted a comeback with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2003 but he ended up retiring in the middle of spring training.  There are no cards of him with the Marines that I'm aware of.

Here's some cards of him from during his time in Japan:

1993 Tomy #408

1994 Takara Baystars #23

1996 BBM #346

1998 BBM Nippon Series #S19

1999 Calbee #221 (Gold Signature Parallel)

2000 Upper Deck Ovation #73
Despite whatever happened in 2000 he's made peace at least with BBM enough to be included in a handful of OB sets.  He's in the 2008 Yokohama 30th Anniversary set, the 2010 BBM 20th Anniversary set, the 2012 Baystars 20th Anniversary set, the 2013 Legendary Foreigners and Deep Impact gaijin sets and the 2014 All Star Game Memories 90's set.  Here's the 2014 All Star Game Memories 90's set card:

2014 BBM All Star Game Memories 90's #80
I was wondering if anyone with Delmarva was really aware of Rose's Japanese career but then I took a look at the cover of their scorecard and realized that they did:

Inside the scorecard there was an article on him:


Sean said...

Wow, that is great that you got to see him and get an autograph! He is one of my favorites, when I first came to Japan he was still dominating the league with the Baystars. Looks like it was a great trip for you too!

Brady Dicarlo said...

That's awesome! I like Bobby Rose.