Sunday, December 26, 2021
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Do you know who the only NPB player who wore a three digit number while on his team's 70 man roster was? It was Robinson Checo of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp who wore 106 in his first stint with the team in 1992-93 and again for the first season of his second one in 1995. He switched to 50 in 1996, his final season in Japan before joining the Boston Red Sox.
This is his card from the 1995 BBM All Star set (#A8), the only card I have of him wearing 106. The only other card I know of with him wearing that number is his Calbee card from that year (#122) as he didn't have any other BBM cards in 1995.
Nazo was introduced during the 2017 season. He's had five different costumes - I think every so often they've done a big deal about him transforming into a new "form". He's been fun to watch and it's a shame that he's going away.
The Fish has shown up on nine baseball cards that I'm aware of. His "rookie" card is the "secret" version (short printed photo variation) of the Marines team checklist in the 2017 BBM 2nd Version set. His other BBM appearances are in the 2018, 2019 and 2021 Marines team sets and the Marines team checklist card in the 2020 2nd Version set:
|2017 BBM 2nd Version #591 ("Secret" Version)|
|2018 BBM Marines #M69|
|2019 BBM Marines #M72|
|2020 BBM 2nd Version #592|
|2021 BBM Marines #M69|
The other four cards are all Epoch Now cards. He had three cards in 2018 and one in 2021. I only have two of these (one from 2018 and the 2021 one), both of which I think are celebrating the introduction of a new "form". Here's the front and back of each of them:
|2018 Epoch One #328|
|2018 Epoch One #328 (back)|
|2021 Epoch One #097|
|2021 Epoch One #097 (back)|
Here's the video of his retirement ceremony from Pacific League TV:
Saturday, December 18, 2021
The sixth and most recent of BBM's "History" OB team sets was released a few weeks ago at the end of November. This time around the Buffaloes are the subject and the set is called "Buffaloes History 1936-2021". I should stress that the Buffaloes in question here are the Orix variety - Kintetsu isn't covered by this set. It does cover the three incarnations of Orix teams - the Braves (1989-90), the BlueWave (1991-2004) and the Buffaloes (2005-present) - as well as their predecessor, the Hankyu Braves.
Given that this is the fourth one of these sets that BBM has put out in the past four months and the second one that I'm doing a post about in as many days, you'll have to forgive me if I kind of rush through this one. Like the other five sets, there's three sections to this set - the seven "Buffaloes History" cards, the 71 OB player cards and the 12 active player cards. Each of "Buffaloes" history cards covers a 9-15 year period in the team's history (during which the team was mostly not the "Buffaloes") - the photo on the front highlights some event during the covered time period and the back lists the team's results in each season covered. Here's the card for the 1989-2001 period that features a photo of the team celebrating their 1996 Nippon Series Championship:
As with the previous sets, this set appears to primarily be an autographed card delivery system so the OB player section ignores the first roughly 20 years of the team's existence. The oldest player in the set - Tetsuya Yoneda - didn't start his career until 1956. He and Mitsuhiro Adachi are the only two players in the set who played in the 1950's. Most of the Hankyu stars from the 60's and later are in the set though, including Hisashi Yamada, Yutaka Fukumoto, Atsushi Nagaike, Koji Minoda and Hideji Katoh. The Orix players include So Taguchi, Yoshitomu Tani, Junichi Fukura, Hiromi Matsunaga, Satoshi Nakajima, Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Nobuyuki Hoshino. Boomer Wells is the only foreign player in the set. There are three players included who are still active in NPB with other teams - Yoshio Itoi (Tigers), Chihiro Kaneko (Fighters) and Yuki Nishi (Tigers).
The biggest name missing from the set is, of course, Ichiro. Ichiro has not appeared in a BBM set since 2009 although he's been in several Epoch sets lately (including the "Buffaloes Stars & Legends" set that came out at almost the same time as this set). I don't know this for a fact but I'm guessing that he has an exclusive deal with Epoch. Takeo Kajimoto, Jiro Noguchi, Brad Lesley, Bobby Marcano and Daryl Spencer are also missing from the set, probably because they've passed away. Chico Barbon and Kazuhiro Kiyohara, both of whom are still alive and could sign autographs, are also not in the set. The set also doesn't have any cards for managers (unless they played for the team like Fukura and Nakajima) so there are no cards for Akira Ohgi, Yukio Nishimoto, Toshiharu Ueda or Leon Lee.
The cards themselves are beautiful, just like the ones in the previous sets. Once again, BBM has done a great job of digging up photos that mostly haven't been used in other sets. Here's some examples:
The subset for the active players once again seems like an afterthought. These cards again use a similar design to the OB player cards but have a dark blue tinted background. For some of the other sets I got a sense that BBM was doing some fan service by including popular players who weren't necessarily contributing much any more but for this set I feel like they really picked what are probably the top 12 players on the team - Ryoichi Adachi, Shuhei Fukuda, Yoshihisa Hirano, Hiroya Miyagi, Yuma Mune, T-Okada, Yutaro Sugimoto, Daiki Tajima, Kenya Wakatsuki, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Taisuke Yamaoka and Masataka Yoshida.
You can see the entire set over at Jambalaya.
Friday, December 17, 2021
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
NPB announced most of their major award winners this week. Munetaka Murakami of the Swallows and Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Buffaloes won the MVP awards:
|2021 BBM 1st Version #313|
|2021 BBM 1st Version #140|
The Rookies of the Year were Ryoji Kuribayashi of the Carp and Hiroya Miyagi of the Buffaloes:
|2021 BBM 2nd Version #558|
|2021 Calbee #104|
Here's the Central League Best 9:
|2021 Epoch NPB #293|
|2021 Epoch NPB #411|
|2021 Epoch NPB #273|
|2021 Epoch NPB #414|
|2021 Epoch NPB #419|
|2021 Epoch NPB #236|
|2021 Epoch NPB #277|
|2021 Epoch NPB #421|
|2021 Epoch NPB #385|
And here's the Pacific League Best 9:
|2021 Epoch NPB #185|
|2021 Epoch NPB #090|
|2021 Epoch NPB #058|
|2021 Epoch NPB #056|
|2021 Epoch NPB #205|
|2021 Epoch NPB #093|
|2021 Calbee #180|
|2021 Epoch NPB #028|
|2021 Epoch NPB #208|
|2021 Epoch NPB #173|
And finally it was announced a few weeks ago that Yamamoto had also won this year's Sawamura Award:
|2021 BBM 2nd Version #467|