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Card Of The Week August 31

on August 31st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Ever wonder how the Buffaloes got their name?  Shigeru Chiba was a star second baseman with the Giants from 1938 to 1956 (except for the years he missed due to the war).  His nickname was Mogyu, meaning the “Wild Buffalo” (I’ve also seen it t…

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Proxy Shopping On Yahoo! Japan Auctions – A Comparison Of kuboTEN and Shopping Mall Japan

on August 29th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Yahoo! Japan Auctions is a fascinating cornucopia of Japanese baseball cards.  It’s amazing what all can be found there, sometimes at very reasonable prices.  There’s just one problem – if you don’t live in Japan, it’s pretty much impossible …

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2014 Super Star Korean Baseball Series 2

on August 26th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I noticed last week that Super Star Baseball Card, the Korean outfit who had put out a set of baseball cards a couple months back, have announced and released a second set.  The set is labelled “1st Edition” like the earlier set but it is also lab…

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Card Of The Week August 24

on August 24th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Well obviously my hiatus was not quite as long as I thought it would be but there’s still going to be a bit of a difference in the posting.  My computer is in our family room on the ground floor of our house but most of my cards are in binders in …

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Many New Sets

on August 23rd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

A bunch of new sets got formal announcements over the last two weeks.  Let’s start with the BBM stuff:- BBM is doing four more team specific box sets.  The first one up is Tigers Fielding, a 24 card set with 23 cards of Tigers players in the …

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SCM Insert Cards Checklist

on August 22nd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I’m doing a bit better than I was last weekend so I thought I’d make an attempt to post something about a project I’ve been working on for a couple months or so.  Since I started picking up the new issues of Sports Card Magazine when they come out I’ve been getting more and more curious about the cards that BBM prints up solely for use in the magazine.  So I started doing some research with the goal to generate a list (in English) of all the SCM insert cards.

You may be telling yourself “That’s not a big deal.  Every issue of SCM includes a list of all the SCM cards so far”.  Which is true, but there’s several caveats.  The first being that the list is in Japanese, not English.  The second is that there’s not much information about the card other than the name of the player(s) depicted on the card.  The third is that there are no card numbers associated with any of the cards listed in the SCM even though almost all the cards I had seen had card numbers.  The final caveat was something I didn’t discover until I was halfway through my research – the list in SCM is not complete.  I found at least one instance of there being a card that was obviously from SCM not being in the magazine’s list.  So, lots of work to do.

The magazine that we now know as Sports Card Magazine started out as a small magazine (or pamphlet) in the early 1990′s that was mostly given away at card shows.  Paul Margiott, one of the pioneers of the hobby, told me that they were “glossy paper, center stapled, color covers, professionally printed.”  They contained  ”ads, articles, price guides, ‘World Card News’, etc;”  The final issue appears to have been #14, issued with a cover date of “Winter 1996″.  This issue had 48 pages. (The quotes from Paul Margiott came from an email conversation he and I had a few months back.  I apologize ahead of time if I misunderstood something he wrote me).

The first newstand issue of Sports Card Magazine was published in October 1996.  As an indication that this was a break from the earlier giveaway issues, this issue was labelled #1.  The next issue was published in March of 1997 and the magazine has been published bi-monthly ever since.*

*Just want to stress that the dates I’m using for the newsstand version are the actual publication dates of the magazine (i.e. the date they hit the newsstand) rather than the cover data of the magazine.

BBM has included cards inserted in every issue of the magazine starting with issue #1.  I have not been able to figure out who the cards with issue #1 were.  Many of the insert cards during the first few years were not baseball related – many were related to wrestling, sumo and boxing, as well as I think at least one race horse.

From what I’ve put together, there are a total of 341 cards that have been published as inserts to SCM.  However, only 271 of them have actual “SCM Original Numbers”.  The rest are unnumbered (or in some cases have the number of the actual version of the card that they are the promo version of).  The first card to have an SCM number on it was this card of Koji Uehara from issue #13 in January of 1999:

And before you ask – this is not the first card included in SCM that was not a promo version of another card.  There were at least two others prior to this.

Now the next frustrating thing in attempting to catalog all of these is that not all the cards in later issues were numbered.  For example, here’s a reprint of a 1974 Calbee Sadaharu Oh card that was included (with a reprint of a Shigeo Nagashima 1973 Calbee card) in issue #15 in May of 1999, four months after the above Uehara card:

Back to being unnumbered.  It looks like SCM would skip number the insert cards for the next nine years or so – the last cards that I know for sure were unnumbered were included with issue #68 in March of 2008.

I can’t swear to this, but I believe that for a certain period of time, SCM would not number cards that were promos for memorabilia cards (the dreaded “non-memorabilia” cards).  But as far as I can tell, every card included since March of 2008 (which includes promos for memorabilia cards) have been numbered.

I’ve lumped all the cards into five categories – Original (meaning there’s no set that the card is related to – at least not one from when the card was issued), Reprint (reprint of an earlier card), Promo (promo version of a card from a set that is indistinguishable from its original except by text saying it’s a promo and/or a color variation in the graphics), Variant (a promo version of a card that differs in picture and/or additional graphics) and Bonus (an original card done in the format of a recent set).

The Uehara card is an example of an Original card while the Oh card is an example of a Reprint (actually it and Nagashima card are the only examples of reprints that I’ve seen so far – we can nitpick the Atsuya Furuta rookie reprint from SCM #20 – I’d argue that that’s a promo version of an insert card from the 2000 BBM set).  I don’t currently have a good example of a variant – at least not one that I can show both the original and variant versions of.  Here’s an example of a promo card vs the original card for the 2014 BBM 80th Anniversary Pitchers Edition:

As you can see, the photos are identical – the only difference is in the color of the graphics (and the inclusion of the SCM logos).

This Michael Nakamura card is a Bonus card for the 2005 BBM Rookie Edition set – it is numbered #120 while the original set ended at #119.

One other thing I want to point out is that BBM has apparently been doing parallels of these cards for a while now, possibly all the way back to issue #1.  I can’t claim that every single card has multiple parallels but I have seen facsimile signature parallels as well as foil or laser ones:

There’s a lot of interesting cards that BBM has included with SCM.  Many highlight events or awards that BBM has not done anything with in their flagship sets.  There is what I felt a surprising number of bonus cards for the 2007 1st Version set and a couple of the Rookie Edition sets.  There are some interesting inserts like the one with issue #81 in May of 2010 – they are cards of rookies done in the style of the 1991 BBM flagship set – basically Classic before BBM officially did Classic in 2013.

I’ve put a link to my checklist here so that any updates I make to it will immediately become visible to anyone looking at it.

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Hiatus

on August 17th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I’m going to be going on a brief hiatus for a couple weeks.  I had back surgery done on Wednesday and I suspect that attempting to continue the blog during recovery is going to be difficult.  I’ll try to still respond to comments and question…

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10 Years Of OB Team Sets

on August 10th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

NPB celebrated the 70th Anniversary of professional baseball in Japan in 2004*.  Since the Giants were the first professional team in Japan, they also celebrated their 70th Anniversary that year.  To commemorate the Giants’ anniversary, BBM r…

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Card Of The Week August 10

on August 10th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Juzo Sanada was a star pitcher for the Taiyo Robins (aka Pacific in 1946 and the Shochiku Robins in 1950-51) in the years immediately following the war (during which he served in the Navy).  He threw two no-hitters and won a Central League record …

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2009 BBM Masaichi Kaneda Set

on August 10th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

In late 2008 through 2009, BBM issued a series of three biographical box sets they called the “Legend Series”.  The first two were for two greats who had retired at the end of the 2008 season – Sadaharu Oh and Kazuhiro Kiyohara.  The third (a…

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Some Unknown Menkos

on August 9th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I’ve picked up a number of old menko cards in the last month or so from Ebay.  A couple of them I have been unable to identify.  Any suggestions anyone has would be helpful.Kagome was a company that produced a number of sets of rectangular me…

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2007 Calbee Pack Busting

on August 9th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Got an odd unopened pack of Calbees in the mail today from an Ebay win.  It’s a clear cellophane pack with the Calbee logo on it and several cards in it.  From looking at the two visible cards, it was obvious that the cards were from 2007:Pac…

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The World Is Saved

on August 8th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

This discussion on Reddit NPB the other day reveals that there is another place to check out live streams of NPB baseball – a Korean site called WinTV24.  From what I’ve seen the last two mornings, the NPB games will appear in the channel list&nbs…

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BBM Scuff Marks

on August 5th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I got a message today from Evan Tokunaga who asked me a question that I don’t think I can help him with:Hello,  I just bought myself my first box of BBM cards.  2013 BBM 2nd Version to be specific.  …  I had a newbie question I wa…

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Well That Sucks

on August 5th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Justin.tv has shutdown.

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2014 Calbee Series Two

on August 4th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Lately Calbee’s sets are all very similar to each other.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just limits the amount of interesting things I can say about them.So I’m not going to say much about this year’s Series Two.  Like Series One, i…

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Card Of The Week August 3

on August 3rd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

On Friday, Giants third baseman Shuichi Murata hit his 300th career home run off of Kenta Maeda of the Carp: 251 of Murata’s home runs came when he was a member of the Yokahama Baystars between 2003 and 2011.  I always mentally pair up Murata and …

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Upcoming Releases

on August 3rd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I’ve been putting off doing a post on upcoming sets because I’ve been waiting for BBM to put up information on the Dragons team set on their website.  They still haven’t but I figure that I’ve waited long enough that if I wait much longer, the oth…

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2014 BBM 80th Anniversary Pitchers Edition Set

on August 2nd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

NPB is celebrating 80 years of professional baseball in Japan this season and BBM is issuing two separate historic sets as part of the celebration.  The first set, called 80th Anniversary Pitchers Edition, came out back in May.  To restate th…

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Sports Card Magazine #106

on July 30th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

The latest issue of Sports Card Magazine (#106) hit the newsstands in Japan last Saturday.  It’s the usual mixed bag of articles and ads that are of limited appeal to non-Japanese readers.  The issue has a full color listing of all the BBM ca…

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Card Of The Week July 27

on July 27th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

There was a wild play in the bottom of the eighth in yesterday’s Tigers-Carp game.  With the score tied at 5 each, the Carp had runners on second and third with one out.  Ryosuke Kikuchi was the batter and on the third pitch of the at bat (th…

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1988 IFT Round Menko

on July 24th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I am not generally a fan of round menko and I’m also not generally a fan of cards that show caricatures of players rather than pictures.  So I was kind of surprised at myself that I ended up kind of liking an odd little set from 1988, the IFT Roun…

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Alfredo Despaigne

on July 21st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

The latest Cuban import to Japan is Alfredo Despaigne, who will likely make his debut with the Chiba Lotte Marines in the next week or so.  Despaigne actually started this season playing for Piratas de Campeche of the Mexican League but he was sus…

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Card Of The Week July 20

on July 20th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

During the first inning of yesterday’s All Star game at Koshien, Fighters pitcher (and outfielder) Shohei Ohtani matched the all time NPB pitch speed record (held by Marc Kroon, then of the Baystars I think) of 162 kph (about 100 1/2 mph) twice.  …

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Calbee All Stars From 1975 And 1976

on July 18th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

With the All Star break currently in full swing in Japan, I thought it might be fun to show some cards that commemorated earlier All Star games.  The huge (1472 cards!) 1975/76 Calbee set had two subsets or card series dedicated to All Star games….

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Card Of The Week July 13

on July 13th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Last week was an auspicious week for two former Fukuoka Daiei/Softbank Hawk pitchers.  On Wednesday, Tsuyoshi Wada of the Chicago Cubs made his first major league appearance.  Wada had left the Hawks and Japan following the 2011 season and si…

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Junzo Sekine

on July 12th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

The rosters for the two NPB All Star games were announced last week and Shohei Ohtani of the Fighters made the team as a pitcher.  This is his second All Star selection as he had made the team last year as an outfielder. Ohtani is the second playe…

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Card Of The Week July 6

on July 6th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Last Tuesday, the Fighters took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth against the Lions out at Seibu Dome.  That lead turned out not to be safe, however, as the Lions rallied in the bottom of the ninth.  After scoring a run on three singles…

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More Late-80′s Calbee Laziness

on July 3rd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

A few months back I had a discussion with Sean that lead to a post about some 1988 Calbee cards that appeared to feature pictures taken from a TV screen,  (He later did a post about a Bill Gullickson card from that set that also appeared to featur…

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Report From Lancaster

on July 1st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

When we last saw Shunsuke Watanabe, formerly of the Chiba Lotte Marines, he was in spring training with the Red Sox.  He ended up getting released by the Red Sox before the end of spring training but he landed a roster spot with the Lancaster Barn…

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Card Of The Week June 29

on June 29th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Interleague play wrapped up last week with the Giants taking the title.  Yoshiyuki Kamei was named Interleague MVP.  It seems a little odd to me that a position player who only played two thirds of his team’s game would win it but there you a…

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The Emperor’s Game

on June 25th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Today is the 55th Anniversary of what is probably the most famous game in Japanese baseball history. On June 25, 1959, the Emperor of Japan for the first time ever attended a professional baseball game. That evening, Emperor Hirohito and his wife Emp…

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2014 Korean Super Star Baseball Card Box Break

on June 23rd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I received the two boxes of the new KBO set (Super Star Baseball Card) that I ordered from Ebay in the mail today.  It took about two and a half weeks from when I ordered the cards for them to be delivered. Unopened BoxOpened BoxPackSo to recap th…

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Card Of The Week June 22

on June 22nd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

This is a 1947 JDM 11 menko card of Giichiro Shiraki of the Flyers.  I’ve been wondering ever since I first saw this card what the deal with the duck or goose was.  I think I finally have an answer now.Rob Fitts is currently selling a card of…

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1994 "Perfect" Card Guide

on June 21st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

One of the odd things about the Japanese baseball card market is that there isn’t a Japanese version of Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards.  While Sports Card Magazine has been running checklists of BBM issues going back to 1991 and Calbee going back to 1973, there’s no Japanese catalog of older sets.  The only comprehensive catalog of Japanese cards is the one that Gary Engel has compiled.  (It’s kind of funny – Ryan and I were using the Vintage edition of Engel’s guide to identify cards at Bibilo last year.  The people working at the store were very interested in the guide as they apparently had never seen it before – and if you’ve been to Bibilo you’d be surprised to discover there was any baseball publication that they had never seen…)  Ryan had a post devoted to this subject last year.

That’s not to say that no one in Japan ever made an attempt.  Ralph Pearce had mentioned to me two Japanese publications that he had – one was called “Sports Cards Price Guide” that was published in 1996 and covered BBM, Calbee and Tomy I.D. cards from 1991 through 1995.  The other was called “J. League & Professional Baseball Sports Card Perfect Catalogue” and was published in 1994.  I recently picked up a copy of the latter guide.

I want to make a quick aside here about where I got the copy – Paul Margiott is one of what I call the “pioneers” of the American Japanese baseball card hobby.  Among other things, he co-wrote the first two editions of the Guide we all now refer to as simply “Engel”.  I had bought a lot of the 1991 BBM set from him on Ebay back when I started collecting Japanese cards.  He contacted me recently about a bunch of documents and publications that he was interested in selling.  I bought a handful of items from him including this.  I think he’s planning on putting the remainder on Ebay but I don’t know that for sure.

The mook (magazine/book) is split up into five parts.  The first part contains a visual checklist for what the publishers considered the main card releases for 1993 – the Calbee and Kanebo J-League sets and the Calbee, Kanebo, BBM, Tomy (“Tommy”) and a couple other issues (Matsui Home Run cards and the “Fantasy” Hawks set) for baseball.  By visual checklist, I mean that the mook shows the front of every every card in every one of these sets.  For BBM, that’s not just the “flagship” set but the All Star, Nippon Series and Tigers boxed set as well.  Here’s some (kind of crummy) scans of some of the pages in this section:

The section ends with a preview of the 1994 issues. Part 2 is a visual checklist of Calbee’s J-League issues from 1987 to 1992.   Part 3 looks like it’s a visual history of Japanese baseball cards from 1946 to 1992.  There’s a page for each half decade that shows a variety of cards from that time period – menkos, bromides, Calbees, Nippon Ham, Mermaid Data, etc.  It’s not a comprehensive list of card, just pictures of cards.  There’s also a two page spread devoted to Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh cards.  Here’s a couple pages including the page for the late 1960′s showing a bunch of Kabaya-Leaf cards:

I’m not entirely certain what Part 4 is dedicated to but I think it has something to do with the history of Calbee.  There’s a couple pages of text that show example card backs of different Calbee Series from 1973 to 1979 along with a bunch of pictures of cards, wrappers and holders.  There are also some non-Calbee items shown which is why I’m not positive what this section is.  But the best part of this section is it has a visual checklist of the first Calbee set from 1973, all 91 cards:

The final section (Part 5) contains a “standard” card checklist and price guide, like you’d see in SCM today.  There are checklists for Calbee baseball and J-League issues from 1986 to 1992, the 1989-90 Lotte sets, the BBM issues from 1991 to 1993 (including All Stars, Nippon Series and Tigers team set), and the 1993 Tomy set.  It also includes vintage checklists (with no price guide) for the 1967 Kabaya-Leaf set, and the 1973 and 1977 Calbee sets (for 1977, it’s just the “Grey Back Star Border” subset).  Here’s the Kabaya-Leaf checklist page:

I assume that the handwriting on the pages is Paul’s.  I’m guessing that this mook was one of many resources that was used to create the earliest versions of the Guide.

I do not know who put this publication out and I don’t know why they never issued another one.  I also don’t know why certain card sets were ignored altogether - Takara, NST and Yamakatsu are all absent from the mook.  But it’s still a pretty cool publication.

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