I bought a bunch of Japanese packs at The 2012 National, and I’ve been slowly doling them out. This is the second pack of 2003 BBM 1st Version I’ve opened, you can see the first pack here.
I’ve gotten Mylar pack opening down to a science, but these foil packs… It’s just damned hard to open them while preserving the wrapper. I ended up taking a pair of scissors to this one.
…and I should point out that I don’t know a lot of NPB players, so much of the information in this post comes from baseball-reference.com.
First is a rookie card of Toshiya Nakashima.
He currently plays for the Rakuten Golden Eagles; He’s never played more than 81 games in a season, so he might be the Japanese equivalent of a “Quadruple-A” guy.
Here’s the back of Nakashima’s card. Most of these BBM cards have a “Did You Know?” section written entirely in Japanese, but this has “The Rookie Story” instead… Maybe they figure he’s a rookie, everything falls under “Did You Know?”
Itsuki Asai… The name seems vaguely familiar; Pretty nice photo.
Asai is now retired, but as a teenager back in 1990 he played one season in the U.S. for the Gate City Pioneers, an independent team in the Pioneer League.
Yuya Kubo; another rookie, and still pitching for the Giants.
There’s a Japanese soccer player named Yuya Kubo who plays in Switzerland; I had wondered if it might be the same guy, but “Football Yuya” was 10 years old in 2003, so… I’m guessing they’re not the same guy.
Wei Chu Lin sounds familiar, but I may just be confused.
The photographer must’ve liked those mid 70s cards where the players face was obscured by shadow.
According to baseball-reference.com, Wei Chu Lin was on the winning team in the 1991 Little League World Series. He played for the Hanshin Tigers up through last year, and Wikipedia says he’s playing for the Brother Elephants in Korea.
WooHoo! This is what I’m talking about! Tuffy Rhodes! The first card where I can say with confidence “Hey, I know that dude!”
For those who don’t know Tuffy, he played a few years in the Majors before going to Japan and becoming a star player. He played 13 seasons in NPB and holds the Japanese record for most home runs by a foreign player (464).
Here’s the back of the Tuffy card:
I couldn’t find a lot of info about Ryotaro Doi; it seems like he lasted just a couple of seasons.
Shigetoshi Yamakita may sound vaguely familiar to Phillies fans; back in 2010 he was to sign a minor league contract with the Phils, but negotiations apparently broke down
You can sort of see in this photo how the Chunichi Dragons’ primary home jersey is pretty much a Dodgers jersey with a different word… I’ve always kinda liked that; maybe it’s because it allows me to enjoy it aesthetically without my general dislike of the Dodgers getting in the way.
I initially confused Takashi Ishii with the Ishii that played for the Dodgers and Mets, but then I realized I was thinking of Kazuhisa Ishii.
Takashii Ishii is listed by Wikipedia as being the Seibu Lions’ pitching coach last year; Maybe someone who understands Japanese or knows their way around NPB websites can tell us if he still is filling that role.
Oh no! There goes Tokyo! Go, go Godzilla! More MLB-related coolness, this time it’s a card issued for Matsui before he became a Major Leaguer.
And the pack concludes with a gaijin… Nate Minchey. This looks like an on-card signature, but it’s one-per-pack facsimile autograph parallel.
Minchey pitched a handful of games for the Red Sox and Rockies before going to Japan and establishing himself over there. If you collected in the mid-1990’s, you’ve likely got some Nate Minchey rookies in your collection.
Easily the best pack of Japanese cards I’ve ever opened… Not that there’s much competition, because this is only the 4th.
I still have a few packs of BBM cards, and I’ll try to get to them in a slightly more timely fashion than once or twice a year.
Nippon Pro Baseball, Japanese Baseball Cards, 2003 BBM 1st Version, Toshiya Nakashima, Itsuki Asai, Yuya Kubo, Wei Chu Lin, Tuffy Rhodes, Ryotaro Doi, Shigetoshi Yamakita, Takashi Ishii, Hideki Matsui, Nate Minchey, Giants, Carp, Blue Wave, Tigers, Buffaloes, Dragons, Lions, Marines