Last month BBM put out a box set called "Munetaka Murakami Shin-Ka" to commemorate his historic season last year. If you've been watching the World Baseball Classic the past few days you'll be forgiven if you've forgotten that Murakami can actually hit very well. In 2022 he not only hit 56 home runs, second in NPB history to Wladimir Balentien's 60 in 2013 but he also lead the league in batting and RBIs, winning the first Triple Crown in Japan since 2004 and the first in the Central League since 1986.
The box set originally came with 58 cards - a 57 card base set plus one "special insert card" - a foil signed parallel card, a 3-D card, a jersey card or an autographed card. I had toyed with the idea of picking up a sealed box but the set was sold out from most of the on-line stores pretty quick and boxes on the secondary market were selling for more than I wanted to spend. I ended up settling for an opened box set containing just the base set for 1000.
Each of Murakami's 56 home runs from last year are featured on a corresponding card in the set. Card #1 is his first home run of the season, card #2 is his second, and so on up to card #56. The front of each card shows a photo of him either hitting the home run, rounding the bases or celebrating afterwards. The front also lists the date, location and opponent for each home run. Here's several of the cards as examples:
You'll notice that card #37 has a notation saying "Count-3" on it. Murakami hit five home runs over two consecutive games on July 31st and August 2nd (August 1st was an off-day). The cards for those five home runs have this extra notation on the front to indicate they were from those two days.
The card backs show the game situation at the time of the home run - inning, count, number of outs, number of runners on base and opposing pitcher. For example according to card #55, home run #55 was hit with two out and two on (runners on first and second) in the ninth inning with a count of 1-0 off Taisei of the Giants:
Card #57 in the set commemorates Murakami's Triple Crown. The front lists his league leading batting average and number of home runs and RBIs while the back lists all the Triple Crown winners in Japanese history:
It's a nice little set as these things go. You can see all the cards over at Jambalaya.