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2015 Draft

on October 23rd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

The 2014 season hasn’t quite wrapped up yet but today everyone was looking towards 2015 and the future as NPB held its draft.  As usual, Deanna and Gen both live blogged the draft and Gen also has the draft listed by team for each round (CL here, …

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Lots Of New Stuff

on October 22nd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I’ve gotten a little behind in reporting the upcoming sets – there are a whole bunch coming up.- BBM’s annual Rookie Edition Premium set will be out late this month (I think on the 30th).  As usual, this is a box set containing (I think) 50 cards …

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Card Of The Week October 19

on October 21st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

With the Hawks defeating the Fighters yesterday, the teams for this year’s Nippon Series are set – for the third time, the Hanshin Tigers will face the Hawks.  The Tigers have now faced all three incarnations of the Hawks – Nankai in 1964, Daiei i…

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This is odd

on October 20th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I decided a few years back to moderate the comments on the blog, mostly due to spam.  No comment gets posted that’s not approved by me.  I’ve got the settings set to send me notifications of new comments to my personal yahoo mail account.A nu…

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Makoto Kaneko

on October 16th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Makoto Kaneko was a third round pick of the Fighters in the November, 1993 draft out of Joso Gakuin High School.  He made his NPB debut in 1995 and became the Fighters regular second baseman in 1996.  His BBM rookie card was #511 in the 1994 …

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October 14, 1974 – Shigeo Nagashima Retires

on October 13th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

1974 was a transitional year for the Yomiuri Giants, although they may not have know it at the time.  The Giants had won their ninth consecutive Central League pennant and Nippon Series championship in 1973 and there was little reason to think tha…

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Alex Ramirez

on October 12th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Continuing the theme of former NPB players announcing their retirement following one or more seasons in independent baseball, former Swallow, Giant and Baystar Alex Ramirez announced his retirement a few weeks back.  Ramirez had last played i…

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Card Of The Week October 12

on October 12th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

It was looking a bit grim today for the Orix Buffaloes in Game 2 of the First Stage of the Pacific League Climax Series.  Down 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth and down one games to none to the Fighters in the best of three series, the team was jus…

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Tomochika Tsuboi

on October 11th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Former Tiger, Fighter and Buffaloe Tomochika Tsuboi announced his retirement a few weeks back.  Like Masao Kida, it had been a couple of years since his last appearance in NPB.Tsuboi attended Aoyama Gakuin University in the Tohto League from 1992 …

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Masao Kida

on October 9th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Masao Kida announced his retirement in late August.  Kida had last made an appearance in NPB with the Fighters in 2012.  He has spent the last two seasons playing for the Ishikawa Million Stars in the independent Baseball Challenge (BC) Leagu…

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Senichi Hoshino

on October 8th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Senichi Hoshino managed his last game for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles yesterday, falling to the Buffaloes in ten innings 3-2.  At age 67 and having suffered severe back problems this season, it’s pretty much assumed that he is retiring for go…

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Atsunori Inaba

on October 8th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

The Fighters held a retirement ceremony for Atsunori Inaba last Sunday after their final home game of the season (unless they make it to the Nippon Series).  Like they did for Tomoya Satozaki last week, Pacific League TV has a number of videos up …

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Card Of The Week October 5

on October 5th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I recently learned something about a card I’ve had for years.  Take a look at the 1991 BBM All Star card of Atsuya Furuta (#445):Notice anything odd about it?  If it isn’t obvious, it may help to know that Furuta was not left handed.  Bu…

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Sports Card Magazine #107

on September 30th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Once again, the latest issue of Sports Card Magazine (#107) has hit the street and once again through the magic of Amazon Japan and DHL shipping, I have my copy just a few days after it was in stores.I have to say that this isn’t a great issue for the …

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Card Of The Week September 28

on September 28th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

The Yomiuri Giants clinched the Central League Pennant for the umpteenth time this past week (note that NPB considers the first place team in each league the pennant winner even if that team does not win the Climax Series and represent the league in th…

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Tomoya Satozaki

on September 28th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

The Marines held a retirement ceremony for catcher Tomoya Satozaki before a packed house in Chiba today. Satozaki was drafted in the second round by the Marines in the fall of 1998.  While he played well with the ni-gun team (he was MVP of the 200…

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RIP Nobuyuki Kagawa

on September 28th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Sad news out of Fukuoka yesterday – former Nankai Hawk Nobuyuki Kagawa has died from a heart attack at the age of 52.  Kagawa was notable throughout his career for being overweight and apparently was suffering from diabetes as well as having a hea…

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2014 Super Star Korean Baseball Card Series 2 Box Break

on September 24th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I had ordered a box of the new KBO Super Star Baseball set from someone in Korea on Ebay.  I paid for the cards on the sixth but the seller didn’t send the cards until the tenth.  The post office attempted to deliver them on Monday when no on…

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Card Of The Week September 21

on September 21st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I recently learned something about one of the artifacts I saw at the Japanese Baseball Hall Of Fame last year.  I saw what I thought was a plaque for Sadaharu Oh’s 756 home run, but I didn’t understand the significance of it:I was looking through …

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Latest New Releases

on September 18th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

A couple new card sets have been announced in the last week or so:- Pretty much as expected, BBM is doing an 80th Anniversary set for the Giants.  This will be a pack based set with 99 cards in the base set, a 12 card insert set and assorted autog…

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Card Of The Week September 14

on September 14th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Junji Ogawa is assumed to be stepping down as Swallows manager after two consecutive last place finishes and the leading candidate to replace him is rumored to be Swallows batting coach Mitsuru Manaka.  Manaka played for the Swallows from 1993 to …

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Card Of The Week September 7

on September 7th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

On Friday Masahiro Yamamoto of the Dragons became the oldest pitcher to win a game in Japan.  At 49 years and 25 days, he also set records for the oldest pitcher to appear in a game, start a game and get a strikeout.Obviously Yamamoto has been aro…

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Carlton "Haruo" Handa

on September 5th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

There will be an “Ask Me Anything” with former Nankai Hawk and Chunichi Dragon Carlton Handa this weekend on the NPB Reddit page.  It is scheduled for 11 AM Japan time on Monday September 8.  This will be Sunday evening in the US – 10 PM on t…

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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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