Before Series 1 showed up on Target shelves, I was in need of a pack to open and fairly well despondent over my lack of options… until I remembered I’ve got a bunch of “rainy day” unopened packs at home, including several Japanese packs. I looked through my box and picked out the pack I knew the least about: 2004 BBM “Golden Arms”.
The only thing I know about it is what I could find on Japanese Baseball Cards blog and TradingCardDB.com… it’s a 144 card set split evenly between active and retired pitchers. I’m not terribly hopeful that I’ll know any of the names in the pack, but I’ll settle for a cool photo… and besides, just the fact that they had been issued in Japan gives them a certain level of coolness regardless of which cards I pull (unless it’s something ridiculously bad, like a “Checklist hot pack”).
Here’s the back of the wrapper…
OK, so first card – Kazuya Motoyanagi
Motoyanagi pitched 8 seasons for the Orix BlueWave, mostly in relief. His career stats aren’t particularly eye-catching.
Here’s the back of his card, just for the record:
I like the idea of a set where the checklist is based on a theme… In a way, it’s surprising that Topps hasn’t come out with a “Power hitter”-themed set that features Aaron Judge 20-30 times.
Moving along… Kazumi Takahashi. BTW, the “Active Arm” cards have blue borders, the “Legend Arm” cards have burgundy borders.
Kazumi Takahashi pitched for 19 seaons and won two Sawamura Awards, the equivalent of a Cy Young. He was an All-Star six times, and, much to my delight, he falls into the category of “Hey, I’ve already got a card of this guy!”
This card comes from the 1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball set.
Back to the Active Arms (and another Yomiuri Giant) – Masanori Hayashi.
Hayashi pitched 13 seasons… most recently in 2015 and mostly in relief.
Back to the Legends – Takamasa Suzuki. Eighteen seasons for the Chunichi Dragons, seven All-Star teams, and three straight “Fireman Of The Year” awards.
Another Active Arm, another Giant: Masaki Saitoh. Saitoh won the Sawamura Award in 1989, 1995 and 1996. In 1990 he was the Central League MVP but Hideo Nomo beat him for the Sawamura.
Leaving the best for last…
This card, right here.
I love this photo… This card makes this pack worth whatever I’d paid for it when I bought it a couple of years ago. For me, it’s also the first time I’d seen a Toei Flyers uniform… if Wikipedia is to be trusted, the Flyers became the Nippon Ham Fighters for the 1974 season.
Yukio Ozaki won 20 games four times from 1962 to 1966, including a 20-9 rookie season which got him the 1962 Rookie Of The Year award. A “dead arm” cut short his effectiveness, but he would continue to pitch through 1973.
So that’s the entirety of the pack. Even without the name recognition, it’s always fun to bust open a pack from overseas!