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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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Lots Of New Stuff

on June 18th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

BBM put out information about a number of new sets this week:- As a follow up to last year’s All Star Memories 80′s set,  BBM is releasing an All Star Memories 90′s set.  As you’ve probably guessed, this is a pack based set featuring players …

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Card Of The Week June 15

on June 15th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I think one of the most difficult things is to follow the footsteps of a famous father into their same field, especially when their father is an icon.  In the US, we had the example of Pete Rose’s son Pete Rose II, who toiled in the minors for ove…

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2007 BBM 2nd Version Set

on June 15th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

2007 BBM 2nd Version Set SummarySize: 250 cards numbered 503-752Cards Per Team:  16 (team card + 15 players)Team Card Theme:  Game Action/CandidsNumber Of Leader Cards:  N/AChecklists:  NoneSubsets:  1st Version Update (12), Be…

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The 1934 Tour of Japan and the Resulting Cards

on June 13th, 2014 by Tom Bartsch

The 1934 Tour of Japan by MLB stars, including Ruth and Gehrig, is well known through books, photos and signed items. But what about the baseball cards commemorating the event? There are rare Ruth and Gehrig cards found in Japanese 1934 All American Tour sets; here’s a synopsis of the three known sets. Read More

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Card Of The Week June 8

on June 8th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

One thing I left out of my post on Haruki Ihara was who the Lions replaced him with this week – batting coach Norio Tanabe is taking over on an interim basis.  Tanabe played for the Lions from 1985 to 1999 and was the regular shortstop for th…

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The Curious Managerial Career Of Haruki Ihara

on June 8th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Haruki Ihara resigned as manager of the Lions last week.  This came as a bit of a shock because although the Lions were playing poorly (20-33 record and last in the Pacific League), Ihara had just taken the job a little over six months ago when Hi…

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More On The New KBO Set

on June 6th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Jason let me know today that someone on Ebay was selling boxes of the new KBO set.  The seller had some additional information about the set in English:As I mentioned the other day, each pack contains seven cards.  What the new information re…

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Yulieski Gourriel

on June 5th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Cuban star Yulieski Gourriel will make his NPB debut tomorrow with the Yokohama DeNA Baystars.  Gourriel is the second Cuban player allowed by his government to play in Japan this year after Frederich Cepeda of the Giants.Like Cepeda, Gourriel pla…

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RIP Don Zimmer

on June 4th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Don Zimmer passed away today at age 83.  One little known fact of Zim’s playing career is that he spent the 1966 season with the Toei Flyers, hitting .183 with 9 home runs in 87 games.  He hung up his spikes after that season, starting his ma…

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Old And New Korean Baseball Cards

on June 4th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Jason did a post early this week showing pictures of a number of Korean cards that neither he or I had previously seen.  A couple show major league players including one item that is a pretty blatant rip-off of the 1980 Topps set.Jason also let me…

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More New Stuff Announced

on June 4th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Four new sets have been announced in the past few days, three from BBM and one from Epoch.- The big announcement was this year’s 2nd Version set from BBM.  This set is looking pretty much like most of the recent 2nd Version sets.  There’s 216…

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Card Of The Week June 1

on June 1st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

It was a bittersweet day for Chihiro Kaneko and the Orix Buffaloes yesterday.  Kaneko had no hit the Giants through nine innings, pitching brilliantly and striking out 11.  The bad news, however, was that the Giants pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano ha…

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An Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

on May 31st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

The 1968 Jintan Gum Giants Trump set (JGA 137) is a very rare set.  When I say “very rare”, what I mean is that Engel gives it a scarcity factor of “R5″ which means that there are only 3 or fewer known copies of most cards in the set.  In fac…

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2014 BBM 1st Version

on May 31st, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

2014 BBM 1st Version Set SummarySize: 409 cards number 1-408 with two versions of card #137Cards Per Team:  28 (team card, manager + 26 players)Team Card Theme:  MascotsNumber Of Leader Cards:  N/AChecklists:  NoneSubsets:  Gen…

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Sports Card Magazine #105

on May 30th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Sports Card Magazine #105 hit the news stands in Japan on Tuesday of this week.  I got mine yesterday via Amazon Japan.  As always it is of limited use to me as a non-Japanese reader, but there are a number of fun things in it (besides the 12…

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New BBM Releases

on May 27th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

BBM announced a couple sets in the last week or so:- There’s a box set dedicated to the Carp’s pitchers both old and new that is being released today (or yesterday in Japan).  It’s called something like Carp “Totomashi” and contains 27 base set ca…

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2014 Calbee Series One

on May 26th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I am under no illusion that any card company in Japan pays any attention to what I write.  But I am happy that my main complaint about last year’s Calbee Series One set was addressed in this year’s Series One set, even if it had nothing to do with…

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Card Of The Week May 25

on May 25th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Korakuen Stadium, former home of the Yomiuri Giants (among others) opened in 1937.  As you might expect, the stadium originally had natural grass.  Artificial turf was installed at the stadium in time for the 1976 season.  I think it was…

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Yomiuri Giants In Vero Beach

on May 22nd, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

In March of 1975, the Yomiuri Giants traveled to Vero Beach, Florida for two weeks of training at the Los Angeles Dodgers spring training camp.  This would be neither the first of the last time that the Giants would go to Dodgertown, but this part…

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Calbee Series Two Announced

on May 19th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

Calbee announced information today (I think) for Series Two.  Like Series One, there will be 84 player cards in the set (7 per team).  There will be two non-premium subsets included – the 12 card “Opening Pitcher” subset featuring the Opening…

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Card Of The Week May 18

on May 18th, 2014 by NPB Card Guy

I picked up this card off Ebay recently and had a difficult time trying to identify it.Looking at Engel, the back matches the 1958 JCM 29 “Cartoon Catcher Back” set.  The menko number indicates that it’s Atsushi Aramaki of the Daimai Orions. &nbsp…

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