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.

1 comment:

Fuji said...

A. I really like the 1991 BBM design. It's the first Japanese baseball set I ever saw.

B. Some of my favorite Japanese baseball cards are the BBM Ceremonial First Pitch cards.

C. Miles Mikolas is one lucky guy.