Friday, October 21, 2016

2017 NPB Draft

The annual NPB draft was held yesterday - I guess that technically it should be referred to as the 2016 draft but since the BBM baseball card of everyone drafted will say they were drafted in 2017, I'm going to call it the 2017 draft.  Deanna live blogged the draft again and Gen of YakyuDB has a round by round list for both the regular and ikusei portions of the draft.

My part of this tradition the past eight years is to list the existing baseball cards of the draftees.  The list of cards has grown smaller over the past few years as BBM hasn't done a collegiate baseball card set since 2013.  This year there's only one draftee who appears in any of BBM's collegiate sets - Yuhei Takanashi who was drafted in the ninth round by Rakuten from JX-ENEOS of the industrial leagues.  Takanashi attended Waseda University from 2011 to 2014 (I assume he played for JX-ENEOS in 2015 and 2016) and appears in two of BBM's TOkyo Big Six sets:

2011 BBM Tokyo Big Six Autumn Version #27

2012 BBM Tokyo Big Six #08
For the second year in a row the only players from the Shikoku Island League that got drafted were ones that had played on the All Star team in the Can-Am League.  There were three players drafted - Yusuke Kinoshita of the Tokushima Indigo Socks (Dragons, ikusei round 1), Shungo Fukunaga also of Tokushima (Tigers, round 6) and Yusuke Matsuzawa of the Kagawa Olive Guyners (Giants, ikusei round 8).  Matsuzawa was drafted by the Giants in the first round of the ikusei draft last year but did not sign - he's kind of the reverse Hisayoshi Chono.  As far as I can tell from looking at the team websites, the only Shikoku Island League teams to do team sets last year were Ehime and Kochi so there aren't any cards of Kinoshita, Fukunaga or Matsuzawa, at last for 2016.

I don't know how many other former Tokyo Big Six players with baseball cards are out there in the industrial or independent leagues who could be drafted in the future so this may be my last draft post.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Card Of The Week October 16

The matchup for this year's Nippon Series is set with the Central League (and Climax Series) Champion Hiroshima Toyo Carp taking on the Pacific League (and Climax Series) Champion Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.  Not sure who's the favorite but I will point out that the Pacific League has dominated the Central League in the Nippon Series recently.  Since 2003, the Pacific League team has beaten the Central League team in 10 of the 13 Series played.  What should give Carp fans hope however is that the Fighters were the team to lose those three Series - to the Dragons in 2007 and the Giants in 2009 and 2012.

This will be the first Nippon Series that the Carp appear in without Hall Of Famer Koji Yamamoto in uniform.  Yamamoto played outfield for the Carp in their first five Series (1975, 1979, 1980, 1984 and 1986) and was their manager in their sixth (1991).

Here's a card of Yamamoto from the 1975/76 Calbee set (#274) showing him in action in the 1975 Series.  I'm pretty sure this is from Game Three of the Series played on October 28, 1975 and shows him rounding the bases after homering off of Takashi Yamaguchi of the Hankyu Braves in the sixth inning.  The Carp would lose that game and the Series but Yamamoto would win the "Fighting Spirit" award - basically the MVP of the losing team.

Here's a card of him managing the Carp in the 1991 Series.  They would lose that one as well, this time to the Seibu Lions:

1991 BBM Nippon Series #S29

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Quick Post On New Stuff

I apologize for the lack of posts in the last week or so - I've been buried under testing at work lately and it's not going to get any better in the immediate future.  I'm going to take this opportunity to try to catch up on a couple new releases that I haven't gotten around to mentioning.

- BBM released the latest of their "Authentic Edition" team box sets today.  It's called "Fly On" and it's for the Hawks.  There's 28 cards in the box - 27 cards for the base set and 1 "special" card that is either a memorabilia or autograph card.  You can see the base set over at Jambalaya.

- Epoch will be releasing a "Season Summary" set for the Yokohama DeNA Baystars in late November.  I'm not sure but I think each box (with an MSRP of 11,200 JPY) contains 22 cards - 18 base set cards, 1 "Holographic" parallel card, 1 insert card and 2 "special" insert cards.  I think there are either 36 or 28 cards in the base set.  The "special" insert cards include a bewildering variety of autograph and memorabilia cards.

- The Swallows are issuing their third "Fan's Choice" card set in as many years.  While the previously ones have only featured three players, I think this one features six - Tetsuto Yamada, Tomotaka Sakaguchi, Yoshinori Satoh, Yasuhiro Ogawa, Shingo Kawabata and the mascot Tsubakuro.  The set will be sold in boxes of 20 six card packs.  The base set contains 54 cards (9 per player) plus 18 "special" cards (3 per player) and 12 "rare" cards - a "photo" and "mini colored paper" card for each player.  There are also various autograph and memorabilia cards available.  The set will be released around November 26.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Card Of The Week October 9

The Saitama Seibu Lions named Hatsuhiko Tsuji as their new manager last week.  Tsuji was the second round pick of the Lions in the fall 1983 draft (Hisanobu Watanabe who managed the Lions from 2008-13 was the first round pick that year) and played for them for 12 seasons between 1984 and 1995 before moving on to the Swallows for four seasons before retiring following the 1999 season.  After retiring as a player, he coached for the Swallows, Baystars and Dragons.

He was the second baseman for the Lions during much of their glory days in the 1980's and early 1990's.  He played in nine Nippon Series with the Lions and won the Championship six times (and won another with the Swallows in 1997).  Here's his card from the 1994 BBM Nippon Series set (#S46) showing him in his last Nippon Series with the Lions:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Card Of The Week October 2

The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters clinched the Pacific League pennant last Wednesday behind the outstanding pitching of Shohei Ohtani.  Ohtani threw a complete game, 1 hit shutout of the Lions to give the team their first first place finish since 2012.  He struck out 15 in the process.  Here's his pitching highlights via Pacific League TV:

BBM's Fighters set this year included an 11 card subset called "Brilliant Stars" that showed several of the young Fighters players in street clothes.  I assume this was BBM's answer to the Pro Yakyuu AI set from last spring.  Here's Ohtani's card from the subset:

2016 BBM Fighters #F68

Thursday, September 29, 2016

2011 Bandai Owners League 04 Box Break

I recently picked up a box of 2011 Bandai Owners League 04 from a seller on - and in this case I do mean the US  Jay Shelton had been telling me for a while that these were available fairly cheaply but I usually don't do much with the collectible card game cards so I never did anything about it.  But I recently discovered a reason to be interested in these.

Let me explain.  BBM issues two "flagship" sets each year - the 1st Version set that is published in mid-April and the 2nd Version set that is published in mid-August.  Both sets go to press much earlier than that - I suspect that the 1st Version's cut off is mid February and 2nd Version's cut off is around the end of May.  But the "trade" deadline for NPB is the end of July - this is the latest date in the season that a team can add a new player.  So there's two months of the season where a team could sign a new player or make a trade that would not be reflected in one of BBM's flagship sets.  Now BBM does publish their high end set in mid-September but that tends to be a small set and most likely won't include any newly acquired players.  Calbee also puts out a set in mid-September but it is a small set too - and usually it contains players who were also in their earlier sets for the year.  So the chances of one of these new or traded players making it on to a baseball card is pretty slim.  Or are they?

Bandai started putting out the Owner League sets in 2010.  They issued four sets a year through last year (looks like they have not published any cards this year) called "01", "02", "03" and "04".  I don't know for sure what time of year the fourth series comes out, but it is apparently late enough in the season to get some of these players.  For example - in 2010 the Eagles signed former Hanshin Tigers pitcher Keiichi Yabu to a contract on July 31st after he'd spent five seasons in North America.  He appears in the 2010 Owners League 04 set - his only other card with the Eagles that I know of is the 2014 BBM Eagles 10th Year Memoral set.  Similarly Alfredo Despaigne, Duente Heath and Nick Evans signed with the Marines, Carp and Eagles respectively in late July of 2014.  The only BBM cards they had that year were in Sports Card Magazine #107 but they all three appeared in the Owners League 04 set (along with several others who signed after 2nd Version went to press).

So my curiosity about the "04" sets was piqued and I wondered if the 2011 edition could help answer a question I've had for a bit.  On June 30th of 2011, the Yomouri Giants acquired long time Chiba Lotte Marine Saburo Ohmura.  Saburo (his registered name) remained with the Giants for the remainder of the 2011 season but he resigned with the Marines for 2012.  As far as I know, he never had a BBM card showing him with the Giants.  So did he appear in the Owners League 04 set that year?  I took a look at The Trading Card Database but unfortunately they did not have the checklist for the 2011 set.  But I remembered that Jay had told me I could find these boxes on Amazon and I had just gotten a gift card for my birthday so I decided to give it a shot.  I was able to find the box for about $14 and it was delivered a few weeks later.

The set itself has 156 total cards, although I think the base set really only has 132 cards - 48 of which are possibly short-printed.  There are 12 "Legend" cards and 12 "Idol" cards that I think are considered inserts.  The "Legend" cards feature OB players while the "Idol" cards feature mascots.  The possible short-printed cards are 12 "Great" cards, 12 "Super Star" cards and 24 "Star" cards.  All of these are active players.  The remainder of the cards are either "white" (48 cards) or "black" (36 cards).  If you hadn't already guessed, each of these groups of cards are split evenly between the 12 teams.


The box contained 20 3 card packs for a total of 60 cards.  I was extremely surprised and pleased that I didn't get any doubles in the set.  Here's the breakdown:

Legend - 1
Idol - 2
Great - 1
Super Star - 1
Star - 3
White - 29
Black - 23

So did I get Saburo?  In the very first pack I opened:

There are several other players in the set that were newly acquired by their teams - Brian Barden of the Carp, Ryan Mulhern of the Lions and Luis Garcia of the Eagles.  Barden and Garcia would remain with their teams in 2012 and have BBM cards that year but Mulhern did not return to the Lions so this is his only NPB card that I know of.  A number of the other players in the set did not appear in either of BBM's flagship sets in 2011 although they did not change teams.  And the set also contains a number of bigger names like Masahiko Morino, Norihiro Nakamura, Tomoya Satozaki and Shinya Miyamoto.  As you would expect, the short-printed "Great", "Super Star" and "Star" cards are all big names - Kenta Maeda, Yoshio Itoi, and Hisayoshi Chono are among the cards I got.

Here's some more example cards:

Legend #012

Idol #01

#057 "Great"

#089 "Super Star"

#113 "Star"




While this was fun, I'm still don't think I'm much of a fan of the Owners League cards.  I like getting complete sets and I think the short prints would make it difficult to put these sets together.  I will consider buying boxes of the other "04" sets however

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sports Card Magazine #119

Sports Card Magazine #119 was published in Japan yesterday and by way of Amazon Japan and DHL I had my copy today.  Here's the summary:

Color Section:
- Three page overview of the cards available for gymnast Kohei Uchimura
- Ads for Genesis (4 pages), Masterpiece (2 pages), Classic (1 page), the Takahiro Arai/Hiroki Kuroda "200 Wins & 2000 Hits", the Carp Autographed Edition, the Fighters Authentic Edition (Climax) and the Rooke Edition Premium box sets  (1/2 page each), Japan Rugby Top League set (2 pages) and Original Smile (Giants cheerleader/dance squad) box set (1 page)

Monthly "Bests":
Best Card Of This Month:  2016 BBM 2nd Version Louis Okoye & Shun Takayama Undershirt & Jersey card
Best Item Of This Month:  2016 BBM 2nd Version box

Hot Card Lists
1. 2016 BBM 1st Version Shun Takayama (#238)
2. 2016 BBM 1st Version Eigoro Mogi (#158)
3. 1993 BBM Ichiro Suzuki (#239)
4. 2016 BBM 1st Version Shota Imanaga (#318)
5. 2016 BBM 1st Version Louis Okoye (#156)
6. 2016 BBM 1st Version Masataka Yoshida (#126)
7. 2016 BBM 1st Version Taiga Hirosawa (#075)
8. 2016 BBM 1st Version Shinnosuke Shigenobu (#210)
9. 2013 BBM 1st Version Shohei Ohtani (#183)
10. 2016 BBM 1st Version Shinnosuke Ogasawara (#292)

Autograph & Memorabilia:
1. 2016 BBM Go Higher Shohei Ohtani Autograph card
2. 2016 BBM Classic Shohei Ohtani Autograph card
3. 2016 BBM Tigers Fumihito Haraguchi/Shintaro Fujinami Autograph card
4. 2016 BBM Tigers Autographed Edition Shun Takayama Autograph card
5. 2016 BBM 2nd Version Louis Okoye Autograph card
6. 2016 BBM 2nd Version Shinnosuke Ogasawara Autograph card
7. 2016 J-League Sei Muroya Autograph card
8. 2016 BBM 2nd Version Ami Imamura "Ceremonial First Pitch" Autograph card
9. 2016 BBM Classic Keishi Suzuki "Buy Back" Autograph card (2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9)
10. 2016 BBM Sumo Chiyonofuji Mitsugu Autograph card

"Newsprint" Section:
- Baseball players in the "Masterpiece" set (2 pages)
- Athletes from other sports in the "Masterpiece" set (2 pages)
- Photo shoot from "Original Smile" including all 19 of the yukata shots (2 pages)
- Box Break Contest - four collectors each open a box of 2016 BBM 2nd Version and are rated on what they pulled (2 pages)
- Card Shop Navi - Match Up in Nagoya
- New Card List contains checklists for the sets advertised in the color section
- "Vintage" Checklist and Price Guide is for J-League cards along with recent cards for all sports
SCM Original Cards:

Masterpiece promo (or bonus - not quite sure) cards for Shigeo Nagashima, Tomoaki Kanemoto, Tetsuto Yamada, Kazu (Soccer), Toshihiko Seko (Track & Field) and Hidehiko Yoshida (Judo)

SCM #382

SCM #383


- BBM is celebrating their 70th anniversary as a magazine publishing house this year by publishing a multi-sport set called Masterpiece.  I haven't seen anything about it on BBM's website yet but the details are up at Niki (and of course this issue of SCM).  The base set has 128 cards - 36 OB baseball players, 36 active baseball players, 55 athletes from other sports and a checklist.  There's four 18 card insert sets (Glorious 3D, Stay Gold, Super Star and Sparkling Hero) and a wide variety of autograph cards (which of course was the reason for the set).  It'll be out in late October.

- The two page ad for Masterpiece includes a half page of something that could be a related set called "Fusion" but I'm not sure what it is exactly.  There's no checklist for it in the New Card List.  At the moment I'm much more interested in it than in Masterpiece but that's just me...

- Normally if the SCM card is a promo card it has the number from the set it's a promo for on its back. None of these do which makes me wonder if they're some sort of bonus card instead.  I do know that all three baseball players are in the set (Nagashima is card #022, Kanemoto is #027 and Yamada is #057).

- I was surprised that a sumo card from early in the year made the "Autograph & Memorabilia" Hot Card list but I then discovered that Chiyonofuji Mitsugu had passed away at the end of July