Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Madonna Japan Members In Australia

The 2024 Australian Women's Showcase will be played next week in Lismore, New South Wales and there are five members of Madonna Japan, the Japanese women's national team, who will be participating in it.  Three of those five are veterans of the Japan Women's Baseball League (JWBL) so I thought I'd do a quick post on them.

2018 Epoch JWBL #52

Akari Hoshikawa played four seasons in the JWBL with Reia (2017), Kyoto Flora (2018) and Aichi Dione (2019-20).  2019 was probably her best season when she hit .339 and had a league leading .480 on-base-percentage.  She won the Best Nine award that year at third base.   Since leaving the JWBL (and the league folding), she's been playing for the Awaji Brave Oceans.

2018 Epoch JWBL #53

Tamaki Muramatsu was probably the best catcher in the JWBL's final couple seasons.  She spent five years in the league with her first two seasons with Reia, which was essentially a farm team for the other three teams in the league.  When she graduated to the Kyoto Flora in 2018 she hit .331 and won the Rookie Of The Year award and her first Best 9 award.  She led the league in RBIs in 2019 and won a second Best 9 award.  After the league folded, she was a founding member of the Hanshin Tigers women's team although she ultimately only played for them for one year.  She's been playing for the Hatsukaichi Sun Blaze since 2022.

2018 Epoch JWBL #27

Miwa Naraoka spent six seasons (2013-18) playing for Saitama Astraia and had a career batting average of .311.  She won three Best Nine awards (2016-18), two Golden Gloves (2016-17) and led the league in hits in 2016.  She also pitched in a handful of games in 2014-15.  After retiring from the JWBL, she spent several years playing for the Agec Women's Baseball Club before founding the Kyushu Honeys with Yuki Kawabata.

It doesn't look like either of the other two players, Erika Nakae and Miwa Tanaka, ever played in the JWBL.  Tanaka is currently a member of the Yomiuri Giants' women's team but I'm not sure what team Nakae plays for.

The tournament will be held from May 9th through the 12th and features the Adelaide Giants, Brisbane Bandits and Victoria Aces.  Hoshikawa, Muramatsu and Tanaka will be joining Adelaide for the weekend while Nakae and Naraoka will be with the Aces.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Card Of The Week April 28

For the past eight years or so, an outfit called variously "Hits", "TIC" or "216 Co., Ltd." has issued sets of  "mini colored paper" or "mini shikishi" - basically oversized (5 1/2 inches wide by 4 3/4 inches high).  The sets are generally (but not alway) small (20-ish card) team sets with the teams in question usually being the Hawks, Swallows, Carp and Baystars.  I kind of pooh-pooh these cards some but Ryan had sent me some a few years back and I was surprised to discover they were more attractive then I thought.  I'll have to keep an eye out for more of them when I'm in Japan next month.

I thought I'd share this 2019 "mini colored paper" card of a guy who had a very good first month in MLB - Shota Imanaga of the Cubs.  He's made five starts and gone 4-0 with 28 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings.  He's only walked three and given up five runs although only three of those were earned.  His ERA is a microscopic 0.98.  I don't know if he'll be able to continue this success but it's been fun to watch so far.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Wally Yonamine Of The San Francisco Seals

I was surprised a few months back to discover that there was a baseball card featuring Japanese Baseball Hall Of Famer Wally Yonamine as a member of the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League.  Yonamine was an American of Japanese descent who was born in Hawaii in 1925.  He was drafted into the Army just before World War II ended and spent most of his time in the service playing sports.  He briefly played football with the San Francisco 49ers after getting out of the Army but was released after getting injured playing baseball.  He was signed by San Francisco Seals manager Lefty O'Doul in 1950 but didn't play for them - they farmed him out to Salt Lake City in the Pioneer League.  After hitting .335 with the Bees he was expected to join the Seals for 1951 but instead was convinced by O'Doul to go to Japan.  The Yomiuri Giants owner wanted to bring American players back into professional baseball in Japan (there had been a handful of Americans playing in Japan before the war) and Yonamine became the first American to play in Japan after the war.  The rest is history.  (If you're interested in reading more about Yonamine, I highly recommend Rob Fitts' book "Wally Yonamine - The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball".)

The gist of all this is that while Yonamine had been the property of the Seals, he never actually appeared in a game for them.  So imagine my surprise a few months ago when I went over to the Trading Card Database and discovered this as the "Random Card Of The Day":

The card is from something that TCDB identifies as the "2015 Carl Aldana 1950 Sommer & Kaufmann San Francisco Seals" which is quite a mouthful.  It looks like it's a reprint of an original 1950 set but that's not the case.  There were apparently Seals sets in 1948 and 1949 done by Sommer & Kaufman, a boy's clothing shop in San Francisco.  In 2015 a collector named Carl Aldana produced a "1950" set in a similar style to the two previous sets.  So there is no 1950 Seals card of Yonamine, just a 2015 retro style card of him.  But it's still an interesting card.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Choi Jeong

Today Choi Jeong of the SSG Landers hit his 468th career home run, pushing him past the legendary Lee Seung-yuop to become the all time home run leader in the KBO.  This is Choi's 20th season and he's spent all of them with the SK Wyverns/SSG Landers franchise.

His first baseball card is from Japan, not Korea - he's in the 2009 Konami Baseball Heroes WBC set (he played for the Korean team in the 2009, 2013 and 2023 tournaments as well as the 2019 Premier 12).  His first Korean baseball card was from the 2010 KBO Game Set but his first LICENSED Korean baseball card was from the 2014 Ntreev Duael Super Star Baseball Season 1 set.  Here's an assortment of his cards:

2009 Konami Baseball Heroes WBC #W09R129

2010 KBO Game Set #AW-007

2014 Ntreev Duael Super Star Baseball Season 1 #SBC01-071

2015 Ntreev Duael Super Star Baseball Season 2 #SBC1502-101-N 

2016-17 SMG Ntreev Superstar Black Edition #SBCBK-049-AS

2017 Vittum Home Run Kings #1

2018 SCC KBO Collection 2 Black #SCCR-02B/079

2019 SCC Regular Collection 2 - All Star #SCCR2-19/013

2020 SCC KBO League Premium Collection #SCCP1-20/S13

2021 SCC KBO Golden Premium #SCC-21/S12

He has cards from the last couple years but I don't have any KBO cards later than 2021.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Card Of The Week April 21

There's been a lot of discussion on-line this past week about an error on the back of Hiromi Itoh's card in the new 2024 Calbee Series One set.  Itoh's height is listed as 176 meters (577-ish feet) rather than 176 centimeters (around 5 foot, 10 inches).  Calbee has issued an apology and is offering to exchange the card for a corrected version "at a later date".  

While the error is amusing (Gaijin Baseball on Twitter dubbed it "Kaiju Itoh"), I've been somewhat surprised to see people trying to sell the card for inflated prices on Yahoo! Japan Auctions.  I mean, sure, it's an error card but as far as I can tell, all the Itoh cards have this error.  I've yet to see a corrected version for sale and it remains to be seen if Calbee will correct the card as part of the print run for Series One or just send corrected cards to folks who send in the error cards.

Here's the front and back of the card:

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mail Day From Jason

I wanted to do a quick post about some cards I got in the mail today from my friend Jason.  He'd put a couple interesting memorabilia and autograph cards up on Ebay that I picked up and as usual he threw in a bunch of random cards in the package with what I had bought.

First up are the afore mentioned memorabilia and autograph cards:

2022 BBM Genesis /300

2022 BBM Genesis /350

2023 BBM Genesis /200

2023 Epoch Premier Edition #AA-15 /97

The only other card I know was going to be in the package was this 2022 BBM Genesis card of Keita Nakagawa.  Nakagawa is one of the players who was in Genesis that year but none of BBM's flagship sets:

2022 BBM Genesis #060

Jason also threw in some 2023 BBM Genesis cards:

2023 BBM Genesis #020

2023 BBM Genesis #022

2023 BBM Genesis #032

There were also a couple cards from the 2022 Epoch NPB Luxury Collection:

2022 Epoch NPB Luxury Collection #002

022 Epoch NPB Luxury Collection #074

A 2023 Topps 206 Mini card:

2023 Topps 206 #31

And finally two "kira" parallels from the 2023 BBM 2nd Version set:

2023 BBM 2nd Version #526

2023 BBM 2nd Version #527

Thanks so much, Jason, and, as always, it was a pleasure doing business with you!

Friday, April 19, 2024

More Topps Now News

I wanted to do a follow up post about the Topps Now NPB cards I wrote about the other day along with some other Topps Now related news:

- I had asked mr friend Ryan to pick up one of the Topps Now NPB cards - Natsuki Takeuchi - for me.  He was willing to do it but pointed out that not only did the card cost 1243 yen but there was a 550 yen shipping fee as well!  I told him the webpage for the card said there was "free economy shipping".  He said, yeah, it says that but when he went to check out, it told him shipping was 550 yen for a total of almost 1800 yen.  We decided to have him hold off on ordering it and give Topps a chance to fix the problem.  I discovered this evening that Topps "fixed" the problem by removing the "free economy shipping" text from the webpage.  So they're serious about charging 550 yen for shipping.  I'm struggling to find the words to describe how insane this is.  Epoch has been doing on demand cards in Japan for seven years now and has charged 500 yen per card the entire time.  That 500 yen includes shipping.  So Topps is attempting to break into the same market in Japan with cards that cost more than twice as much as the existing ones BEFORE you take into account the shipping charge which, by the way, is MORE than the price of an Epoch One card.  Am I getting this right? 

- I had not noticed the other day that the seven cards that Topps had for sale were numbered from 1 to 8 with #3 missing.  #3 is no longer missing as yesterday Topps added a card for Hotoka Yamakawa that will be on sale until April 25th, two days later than the other seven cards.

- Topps is also now selling a 30 card Topps Now team set for the Samurai Japan team that took on Team Europe back at the beginning of March.  Unlike the two previous Topps Now Samurai Japan team sets, Topps will not ship this one overseas.  The set cost 8800 yen (about $56) and domestic shipping in this case is free.  The set contains a number of stars including Munetaka Murakami, Kensuke Kondoh, Sosuke Genda and Chusei Mannami.  I'm particularly excited about the fact that it includes cards of the three collegiate players - pitchers Yumeto Kanemura and Yuto Nakamura and outfielder Misho Nishikawa.  There haven't been any baseball cards of Japanese collegiate players since the last time the Panini USA Baseball Stars & Stripes set included memorabilia cards for the collegiate national team in 2020 and no Japanese produced cards since BBM's last Tokyo Big Six in 2013.  The cards will be on sale until May 16th.

- FedEx dropped off an unexpected package at my house a couple days ago.  I was kind of puzzled about who it was from - I really didn't think I'd be getting Zippy Zapped again so soon.  It turns out it was a package from Topps - they'd sent me a parallel card for one of the Topps Now Samurai Japan Asian Professional Baseball Championship cards they were selling back in November.  It was a nice surprise.  They'd sent me some parallels last year for the Topps Now cards for the friendlies against Australia but it had been so long since I'd gotten these cards that I had given up all hope of getting any parallels.  Maybe this means I'll get a parallel or two from the team set like I did last year.  Here's the card they sent me - it's #25/25:

Thursday, April 18, 2024

2024 Calbee Series One

I got my 2024 Calbee Series One set in the mail last week in the same shipment that I got my 2024 BBM Rookie Edition set in.  The set is the first of what I hope will be three Series this year but fear will only be two.

The base set contains 84 cards - 60 "regular" player cards (5 per team), 18 "Title Holder" cards and six checklist cards.  The 60 player cards is the same that last year's sets had so it looks like the days of 72 player cards (which was most of the last 10-12 years) are over.  Since it's an even numbered year, the player's names are in Japanese on the front of the cards (they've been alternating every year since 2016 with English names in the odd number years and Japanese names in the even numbered years).  As has unfortunately become standard, the photos are very "meh" - pretty much all "pitchers pitching, batters batting" with only one "catcher catching" card.  There isn't even a horizontally oriented card to break up the monotony.

I've always felt that the player selection is kind of light on the big stars for Series One each year and that's true of this set to some extent.  Probably the biggest names in the set are Tetsuto Yamada, Tomoyuki Sugano, Sosuke Genda, Kona Takahashi and Yuma Mune along with dinosaurs like Masahiro Tanaka and Tsuyoshi Wada.  Now Calbee tends to not have a "regular" card of a player who's also in the accompanying subset which explains why guys like Kazuma Okamoto, Shugo Maki, Yuki Yanagita and Kensuke Kondoh don't have cards but not why Roki Sasaki or Munetaka Murakami don't.  There are no cards for rookies (at least in the baseball card sense - no 2023 draftees) and no cards for any players who changed teams over the winter.  There's also only one foreign player - Jose Osuna of the Swallows.

Here's some example cards:

#021 Tetsuto Yamada

#053 Kona Takahashi

#048 Takero Okajima

#031 Yuma Mune

#018 Tomoyuki Sugano

#006 Masato Morishita

I will say that despite the unimaginative selection of photos, the cards themselves look good as always.

The 18 "Title Holder" cards feature all the players who either won major awards (MVP, Rookie Of The Year, Sawamura) or led the league in one of the major categories last year - UNLESS that player moved to MLB over the winter.  As a result of that last stipulation, this subset does not include Yoshinobu Yamamoto (PL MVP, Wins, ERA & Strikeout leader), Yuki Matsui (PL Save leader) or Shota Imanaga (CL Strikeout leader).  It does, however, include the afore-mentioned Okamoto, Maki, Yanagita and Kondoh along with Shoki Murakami, Koji Chikamoto, Ukyo Shuto, Yuma Tongu and Gregory Polanco.  Here's the Chikamoto card:


Calbee traditionally has 12 checklist cards spread across their usual three Series - four per Series.  The fact that Series One this year has six checklist cards is what makes me worry that, like last year, this year Calbee will only release two Series.

The good thing about the checklist cards is that usually they have the most interesting photos in the set and I think that's true once again for this set.  The cards feature events from last season for the top three teams in each league - Yusuke Ohyama of the Tigers having a walk off hit in the tenth inning of a game on August 22, the Buffaloes celebrating their third straight PL pennant, Shogo Akiyama of the Carp's walk off hit in Game One of the First Stage of the Central League Climax Series, Yudai Fujioka of the Marines' game tying hit in Game Three of the First Stage of the PL Climax Series, Toshiro Miyazaki of the Baystars' double to help them make the playoffs on September 29th, and Shuta Ishikawa of the Hawks' no-hitter on August 18th.  Here's the Fujioka card:


If I sound disappointed in the set, it's because I am somewhat.  I feel like I'm repeating the old joke about the couple that goes to a restaurant - one of them complains that the food tastes terrible and the other one agrees and adds that the portions are too small.  I don't think the cards are ugly but the photo selection is bland and the set should be larger.  And I'll be very disappointed if there are only two Series again like last year.  But despite all that - it's a Calbee set.  If you like Calbee sets, you'll like this one.

You can see all the cards (including the "Star" and "Legend" inserts) over at Jambalaya.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

2024 BBM Rookie Edition

You know, I make fun of Calbee for issuing pretty much the same flagship set year after year.  I should probably make fun of BBM more for doing essentially the same thing with the Rookie Edition set every year.

Rookie Edition is BBM's annual draft pick set, featuring all the players who were taken in the NPB draft last fall.  Or to be more accurate - all the players who were taken in the draft and came to terms.  It should probably go without saying that if the player didn't sign with the team that drafted him, he's not in the set.  It's a lot less common for an NPB draftee to not agree to join the team that drafted him but it does happen - and in fact in happened last fall when Shosei Takahashi, the first pick for the Swallows in the ikusei portion of the draft, ended up not signing with the team.  As a result, there's only 121 cards for draftees in the set - 72 from the regular phase and 49 from the ikusei portion - instead of 122.

The Rookie Edition set itself contains 135 cards in the base set.  Beyond the aforementioned 121 draftee cards, there are two "2023 Draft Pick" cards which act as a kind of checklist for the draftee portion of the set (but really just exist to make the number of cards divisible by three) and a twelve card "New Face" subset which features one young player from each team so that BBM can include autographed cards for the players with the set.

As usual the photos for the cards were all taken at the press conferences that each team holds to introduce their draftees to the fans and the press so they are generally boring poses showing a player swinging a bat, making a pitching motion or just adopting a "guts" pose.  (For the seventh year in a row BBM has included "secret" versions of the 12 first round picks which are short printed photo variants showing the player in a different boring pose.)  As usual I will make my annual plea that BBM please start using photos of the players with their college, high school, corporate league or indy league teams.

This is the first card for most of the players in the set.  The exceptions would be anyone who appeared in any of the JABA corporate league sets between 2021-23 (Giants 2nd round pick Shunya Morita is the only one that I know for sure) or if any of the indy league teams that players were drafted from had cards.  Epoch also issued Epoch One cards for the "regular" phase draft picks for all the teams except the Buffaloes and Carp although it's difficult to determine if those cards came out before the set hit the stores.

Here's some sample cards:






Here's what one of the "2023 Draft Pick" cards looks like:


I'm kind of amused that the back actually lists Shosei Takahashi, the player who didn't sign with the Swallows, but instead of a head shot of him, there's just a note saying "No Photo".  And notice there's no card number for him either:


By the way, I'm totally serious that the reason these cards are in the set is to make sure the number of cards in the set is divisible by three which is driven by the number of draft pick cards.  Last year there were 126 draft pick cards which is evenly divisible by three.  As a result, there was no "Draft Pick" card in the set.  In 2022 there were 128 draft picks so there was only one "Draft Pick" card needed to get to a number divisible by three.  You can look at my retrospective post on 20 years of Rookie Edition sets form a couple years ago to see that this has been going on since 2012.

The "New Face" subset features a young players from each team who hasn't really established himself yet.  Most of the players were drafted in the past few years.


I had gotten the base set off of Yahoo! Japan Auctions through ZenMarket but I also bought a handful of insert cards for the set from my friend Jason.  I've been intrigued by the "Close Relationship" cards that BBM has added in recent year that highlight connections between some of the draftees.  There's a total of eight of these cards this year and I was able to get six of them from Jason.  The connection on six of the cards (four of the ones I got from Jason) was that they all went to the same college.  The other connections were three players who had all been drafted from the Tokushima Indigo Socks of the Shikoku Island League (there were actually six players drafted from that team but the other three were ikusei picks) and a father-son card for Hirobumi and Ryuki Watarai.  Here's the Tokushima Indigo Socks card:


I also got a "Starting Point" insert card from Jason.  "Starting Point" has been a standard insert card for the Rookie Edition set for a few years now too.  It features one established player from each of the 12 NPB teams.  I picked up the card for Tsuyoshi Wada who I think is the last active player who was in the first Rookie Edition set in 2003:


I'll finish this post with my annual final comments - it's easy to mock it because of the remarkably dull photographs of the draftees posing but I do feel like this is an essential set to get every year and you can see all the cards over at Jambalaya.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Topps Now NPB Cards

Topps Japan is now offering Topps Now cards for NPB.  They've got seven cards currently up on their website featuring events from the first couple weeks of the season.  The cards are 1243 yen a piece (about $8) although there are volume discounts if you're buying multiple copies of the same card (although there is no bundle for all seven cards available).  Unlike the MLB version of Topps Now, the NPB cards are on sale for a week.  I guess we'll see if Topps will offer new cards every day or if it'll be a weekly offering (or some other interval).

It appears that Topps will not ship these cards overseas.  I suspect there's something in their NPB license prohibiting them from doing so as they also wouldn't ship the Tigers Championship set overseas but will do so with the Samurai Japan cards.

I'm mildly surprised that Topps appears to have made a little bit of effort on the cards backs.  There's text in both Japanese and English describing what's happening on the card and it's not simply a repeat of the text on the front.  Granted it's not a paragraph like the MLB Topps Now cards have but at least it's not just listing when and where the game happened without even giving the score like the Topps Now Samurai Japan cards have had.

I'm going to be curious which teams they end up doing Topps Now cards for.  There's only four teams represented in the first batch of cards - two Eagles, two Tigers, two Lions and a Dragon.  Will they do cards for more teams?  Will they do cards for teams that Epoch isn't doing Epoch One cards for (which would be the Carp and Buffaloes)?  I'll also be curious to see what events get featured on the cards.  So far, the events on five of the seven Topps Now cards were also featured on Epoch One cards.  Since Epoch is somewhat slow in their rollout of Epoch One cards, it's possible the other two will be represented as well.  

I guess the big question is whether there's a big enough demand for "on demand" NPB cards for both Epoch and Topps to be doing them.  Given that Epoch One cards are only 500 yen, less than half the price of the Topps Now cards and so far are covering the same events, it's hard to see why anyone would want the Topps cards.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Sports Card Magazine Cards

I did a post a few weeks back about a bunch of magazine issued cards that I'd gotten from Ryan.  I mentioned in the post that I had nearly completed my goal of getting all the baseball related cards that were issued by BBM in Sports Card Magazine (SCM).  In a comment to that post, Sean asked how many cards were actually issued in the magazine over the years.  The answer is 467 over the slightly more than 20 year run (October 1996 to January 2017) that the magazine was published - I have a list of all the cards here.

Sean's question prompted me to do a little more research though.  I got curious about two questions - how many SCM cards do I have and how many baseball-related ones are there?  I'll answer the second question first - by my count there are 388 baseball related SCM cards.  This covers not only the obvious cards featuring NPB players but also cards featuring members of team's cheerleader/dance squads, mascots, celebrities throwing out the first pitch at a game and promo cards of female baseball players from BBM's Real Venus sets.  I have 356 total SCM cards BUT not all of those are baseball-related - while I don't go out of my way to get them, generally if I've picked up a non-baseball SCM card (say for a sumo wrestler or rugby player), I'll keep the card in the same binder that I keep the rest of my SCM cards in.  The number of actual baseball-related SCM cards I have is 329.

Now you might be saying to yourself, "Wait, I thought he said he had nearly completed his goal of getting all the baseball related SCM cards but it looks like he still needs about 60!"  Well, there's a reason for that.  The cards I was trying to collect do not include cards that are simply the promo version of some regular BBM issue.  So, for example, I wasn't interested in tracking down the Tatsuhiko Kinjoh card issued with SCM #25 in January of 2001 because it was a promo for the 2001 BBM Preview set, differing only from the original card in some of the colors.  Similar to the non-baseball cards, if I end up with the promo cards, I keep them in my SCM binder but for the most part I don't actively collect them.  I should mention, though, that the final SCM card that I am looking for is one of these promo cards - a "non-memorabilia" card of Hiromitsu Ochiai from the 2002 All Time Heroes set.

OK, so that's been a lot of background text.  Let's show off some cards.  These are some of my favorite SCM cards.  First up is the first real draft pick card that BBM ever did - this was in issue #13 in January of 1999:

1999 SCM #1

I need to talk a little about the card numbering.  Despite this being card #1, it was not the first SCM card.  There were 24 cards issued before it but BBM did not number them.  After this, BBM was inconsistent about numbering the cards - some cards had numbers and some - mostly promo cards - did not.  It wasn't until 2008 that BBM started numbering all the SCM cards.  Ultimately 397 of the SCM cards had numbers which means that 70 did not.

I believe that the following two cards are the only collaboration ever done between BBM and Calbee.  Issue #15 in May of 1999 included BBM reprints of the first two card #1s from Calbee sets - Shigeo Nagashima from the 1973 and 1973/74 set (the card uses the back of the 1973 version) and Sadaharu Oh from the 1974/75 set:

Whether or not these two cards are the only SCM reprints of an earlier card depends on how you want to define this next card.  The card of Atsuya Furuta in BBM's 1991 All Star set was printed with the image reversed.  Almost nine years later - I assume as part of them celebrating their 10th season doing cards - BBM issued a corrected card in SCM #20 in March of 2000:

I'm mean technically it's not a reprint but it says "reprint" right there on the front!  It and the two Calbee cards are the only SCM cards to be labelled as reprints.

This card from SCM #24 in November of 2000 shows Hideki Matsui recreating Nagashima's pose from the first ever Calbee card:

2000 SCM #11

Issue #70 in July of 2008 (yeah, I'm jumping forwards a bit) featured three cards of players wearing "Classic Uniforms" - Norichika Aoki in a Yakult Atoms uniform, Munetaka Kawasaki in a Nankai Hawks uniform and Hiroyuki Nakajima in a Nishitetsu Lions uniform.  Here's the Aoki card:

2008 SCM #103

BBM celebrated their 20th year of doing cards in 2010 and there were a number of SCM cards that year that helped commemorate the occasion.  I've written about a couple of these recently but my favorite of them was the little five card set they issued in SCM #81 in May of that year.  The cards looked like 1991 BBM cards - including being the smaller than normal size that the 1991 cards were - and featured five of the first round picks from the 2009 draft - Hisayoshi Chono, Takeshi Imamura, Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh, Yusei Kikuchi and Takashi Ogino.  Here's the Ysutsugoh card:

2010 SCM #156

Sometimes the promo cards for BBM sets that were included in SportsCard Magazine were actually variants of the corresponding card in the set.  OK, technically ALL the promos are color variants but what I mean in these cases is that the card is significantly different.  The first issue of SCM I ever got was #95 which came out in September 2012 and promoted the first Genesis set.  The cards in the issue were promos for the set but they featured different photos of the players than what the original cards had.  The two players were Shota Dohbayashi of the Carp and Tetsuya Utsumi of the Giants and both cards featured the players wearing retro uniforms as part of the "Great Central" promotion the Central League did that year.  They had the same card numbers from the Genesis set on the back (#075 for Utsumi and #096 for Dohbayashi) as well as the SCM card number.  Here's the Dohbayashi card (you can see the original card here):

2012 SCM #203

In 2014 (issue #105 in May), SCM included a Shintaro Fujinami card that was a variant of his card in the BBM Tigers set that year.  Fujinami had homered in an early season game against the Carp that season and BBM commemorated the event on this card (the original version of the card can be seen here although the SCM card does not have the BBM Tigers set card number on it):

2014 SCM #257

2014 was the year that BBM issued the most cards in SCM.  Each of the six issues that year had twelve cards in it for a total of 72 for the year.  Half of those cards made up the "Cosmic Cross" set.  BBM had started doing cross set subsets with their flagship sets in 2010 with "Cross Stream" and they've done it every year since except 2011 (when "Cross Blast" was exclusive to the team sets) and 2014 when they did the "Cosmic Cross" set in SCM instead.  Each SCM issue in 2014 had six "Cosmic Cross" cards along with six other cards.  The 36 card set featured three players per team and included most of the big NPB stars of the time, including this guy:

2014 SCM #225

A lot of my favorite SCM cards commemorate particular events.  Issue #63 in May of 2007 included cards that commemorated the NPB debuts of pitchers Masahiro Tanaka, Tatsuyoshi Masubuchi and Yuta Ohmine:

2007 SCM #82

On March 1st, 2008 Sho Nakata hit a home run in his first at bat in his first (exhibition) game during his first training camp and SCM had a card ready to be included in issue #68 which came out just a few weeks later at the end of the month:

2008 SCM #96

The following issue, #96 in May of 2008, included five cards called "A Day Of Record" which showed several events from the first month of the season.  Featured were Hayato Sakamoto of the Giants becoming the youngest player in Central League history to hit a grand slam (on April 6th), Tomoaki Kanemoto and Takahiro Arai of the Tigers getting their 2000th and 1000th career hit respectively in the same game (on April 12th), Yuki Karakawa of the Marines becoming the first pitcher born in the Heisei era to get a win (on April 26th), Shota Ohba of the Hawks throwing a complete game victory with 16 strikeouts and no walks (on April 5th) and Takeshi Yamasaki of the Eagles getting his 300th career home run (on April 3rd).  Here's the Sakamoto card:

2008 SCM #98

The next highlight set wouldn't come until issue #87 in May of 2011.  There were five cards entitled "The Great Beginning" that featured the first victories by rookies Yuki Saitoh, Yuya Kukui and Hirokazu Sawamura along with the first hits by rookies Shunta Goto and Shogo Akiyama.  It was obviously an attempt to cash in on the popularity of Saitoh, although this was actually the third SCM card of him in as many issues.

2011 SCM #176

A year later, issue #93 had a similar set of five cards although only three of the players featured were rookies.  There were cards for the first victories for Takahiro Fujioka, Yusuke Nomura and Ryosuke Miyaguni along with cards commemorating  Masahiro Yamamoto becoming the oldest pitcher to record a win as a starter and Kyuji Fujikawa notching his 200th save:

2012 SCM #199

To the best of my knowledge, BBM is the only one of the major card companies to ever do any card for any of the independent minor leagues in Japan.  There were three SCM cards that featured players from the Shikoku Island League.  The first two of these were issued in SCM #53 in September of 2005, right around the time the league was completing their first season:

2005 SCM #56

2005 SCM #57

I don't know much about these two players or why BBM decided they should have cards (although Hayashi was the league's first batting champion).

The other Shikoku Island League card was for Hideki Irabu.  Irabu finished his career with the Kochi Fighting Dogs, making two pitching appearances in September of 2009 (one of which was witnessed by Deanna Rubin).  Like the Nakata card, BBM was able to produce the card very quickly as it was included in issue #77 with came out at the end of that month:

2009 SCM #130

One interesting thing about the Irabu card is that it is labeled as being part of the 2009 2nd Version set.  In fact, the back of the card has number 810 on it, one higher than the last number in the original set.  So this is basically a bonus card for the 2009 2nd Version set.  This would be neither the first nor last time that BBM issued bonus cards for their sets through SCM.  These really are my favorite SCM cards so let me run through them quickly.

This first instance isn't really a bonus card for the 2000 BBM set but it was the first time there was an SCM card using the design of a BBM set for a card that was not in the set.  Honestly, I have no idea why BBM did a card for a guy who had been retired for 13 years in 2000 but it's still kind of cool (and was issued in SCM #21 in May, 2000):

2000 SCM #9

The first real instance of a bonus card for one of BBM's sets happened in 2005.  I've previously related the story Micheal Nakamura told on a podcast about how he and the Marines had pretty much agreed on a contract in 2004 but decided to have him go through the draft so that he wouldn't count as a foreign player, only to have the Fighters draft him before the Marines could.  I don't know for sure that Nakamura took a while to sign with Nippon-Ham but I do know that he was not in the 2005 BBM Rookie Edition set.  BBM corrected that oversight with a bonus Rookie Edition card of him in SCM #50 which came out at the end of March, 2005 - about a month after the original set was released.  Nakamura's card has a card number of 120 for the Rookie Edition set as well as an SCM card number:

2005 SCM #50

There were two issued in 2007 that each included three bonus cards from the 2007 BBM 1st Version set.  Issue #64 in July had cards of Kuniyuki Kimoto, Brian Sikorsky and Alex Ochoa while issue #65 in September had cards of Masato Yoshii, Rafael Cruz and Wirfin Obispro.  Oddly enough, the cards only had SCM card numbers, not 1st Version numbers.  The foreign players were all mid-season additions to their teams while Kimoto and Yoshii had both been traded in the middle of the year.  I believe this is the only card of Yoshii as a player with the Marines:

2007 SCM #88

In 2008, 16 year old female knuckleball pitcher Eri Yoshida signed a contract with the Kobe 9 Cruise of the Kansai Independent Baseball League.  In January of 2009, BBM issued three bonus cards for the 2009 Rookie Edition set.  Two of them were promos for the single player sets BBM had done for the retirements of Sadaharu Oh and Kazuhiro Kiyohara but the third featured Yoshida:

2009 SCM #114

In September of 2012, BBM issued a card set celebrating most of the no-hitters in Japanese baseball history.  As luck would have it, the set was out of date roughly a month later when Yuki Nishi of the Buffaloes no-hit Softbank on October 8th.  BBM issued an additional card for the set featuring Nishi in SCM #96 in November, 2012 (but unfortunately BBM never issued any more cards for later no-hitters):

2012 SCM #205

BBM added two additional "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards to the 2013 2nd Version set in issue #101 in September, 2013 - Nishikokun, the mascot for Nishi Kokobunji station and Sadako, the villain from the "Ring" movies.  Both cards have 2nd Version card numbers (#691 and #692) as well as SCM numbers:

2013 SCM #220

Anthony Carter signed with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in April of 2014, too late to be included in the team's BBM team set that year.  BBM issued a bonus Fighters team set card (#F91) for Carter in SCM #105 a month later:

2014 SCM #258

BBM added 12 additional cards to the 2014 2nd Version set in two batches.  The first six - Rhiner Cruz, Zach Lutz, Abner Abreu, Yuya Iida, Joey Butler and Kohei Mantini - were included with issue #106 in July while the other six - Nick Evans, Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Alfredo Despaigne, Hector Mendoza, Yoshinori Tateyama and Deunte Heath - were in the following issue two months later.  All the cards had 2nd Version set numbers as well as their SCM card numbers:

2014 SCM #282

In 2015 BBM went back to including a "Cross Something" cross set subset in their flagship sets but that didn't stop SCM from getting in on the action.  Issue #110 in March of 2015 included 12 bonus "Cross Plasma" cards - one from each team.  The cards had "Cross Plasma" subset numbers as well as SCM card numbers:

2015 SCM #308

BBM included bonus cards for all twelve team sets in issue #112 two months later.  Some of these were additional "regular" player cards for late signing foreign players like Wily Mo Pena, Nelson Perez and Nate Schierholz while others were additional subset cards.  Each card was numbered #82 for each set in addition to having an SCM card number.  The Giants' bonus card featured Miles Mikolas and his wife Lauren who was attracting a lot of attention from the Japanese press that year:

2015 SCM #338

The next issue - #113 in September - included six bonus "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards for the 2nd Version set.  Once again, the cards were numbered in continuation of the "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards in the original set as well as having SCM card numbers:

2015 SCM #348

SCM #117 in May of 2016 included three bonus cards for BBM team sets - Yamaico Navarro of the Marines, Jonny Gomes of the Eagles and Masahiro Inui of the Giants.  This would be the only BBM card issued for Gomes.  As with the bonus cards from the 2015 team sets, these cards were all card #82 from their respective sets and also had the SCM card number:

2016 SCM #368

I should mention here that SCM #117 also include three bonus cards from the "Dancing Heroine - Hana" set and the following issue had six bonus cards from the "Dancing Heroine - Mai" set.  Since I don't have the cheerleader sets and I don't even have the cards anymore, there's not much I can say about them though.

The final SCM bonus cards were included in the next-to-last issue - #120 in November of 2016.  BBM was publishing their first ever Fusion set and included six additional cards from the set in the issue.  Five of the cards were "Ceremonial First Pitch" cards for Ami Inamura (who was on the cover of the magazine).  The other card was an additional 'Leader" card for the 2016 Nippon Series champion Fighters.  You can probably already guess that the cards had the proper card numbers from the Fusion set as well as their SCM card numbers:

2016 SCM #391

BBM stopped publishing SportsCard Magazine after issue #121 in January of 2017 and I've missed it quite a bit.  Even if I couldn't read it, it was always interesting to see what the new releases BBM was planning and try to decipher what was going on in articles just from the photos.  And the cards were almost always a lot of fun.