Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Baseball Card Post - Good Things Always Come In Threes

I went to the Mint sports card store in Jimbocho the other day to complete my "Consecutive" sets of three cards in the Chunichi team sets; I wrote down which Masa and Kosuke cards I had and intended just to get those, but after I talked to the guy who runs the shop and he told me they were having a 20% off sale on individual non-priced cards (40 yen each instead of 50 yen), I couldn't resist looking through some of the other team sets to see if they also had similar cards, and thus ended up getting a whole bunch of sets of three.

(Also, wow, looking at that website I just realized there are a whole bunch of other Mint stores in the Tokyo area that I totally have to go visit. I need to find out if any of them either will take extra cards off my hands and/or if they have trading times.)

Anyway, these are the sets I was originally aiming for. The Chunichi Dragons 2007 set has 9 cards labelled "consecutive", three for Kenshin Kawakami, three for Kosuke Fukudome, and three for Masa Yamamoto. The idea with these cards is that if you have all three for one player and put them together, it makes a 9-frame picture of their throwing or batting motion. They look really cool together, though when you only have one or two of them separately, they look sort of stupid. Even cooler is how they're reversed on the back, so the middle picture is the same, but if you have the beginning or ending of the motion, you'll have the opposite card on the back. Okay, maybe that's not that cool, but I noticed it and thought so.

Forgive the angles on these shots; I was trying not to get the flash in the way.

"Consecutive" Kosuke Fukudome - Front

"Consecutive" Kosuke Fukudome - Back

"Consecutive" Kenshin Kawakami - Front

"Consecutive" Kenshin Kawakami - Back

"Consecutive" Masa Yamamoto - Front

"Consecutive" Masa Yamamoto - Back

Something kind of cool is how since Kosuke bats left-handed and Masa throws left-handed, their cards start from the right and go to the left, but since Kenshin throws right-handed, his card starts from the left.

So, I looked through the Fighters set to see if they had anything similar, since I only bought one team pack this year and hadn't seen all that many cards in the set. Sure enough, they had a Darvish set! Only it was labelled "Clever" instead of "Consecutive". That's appropriate, I suppose:

"Clever" Yu Darvish - Front

"Clever" Yu Darvish - Back

The Fighters set also had a three-card series set for Yukio Tanaka's 2000 hits, so I just HAD to get that one. It's only 6 pictures instead of the full 9, but that's okay:

"2000 Hits" Yukio Tanaka - Front

"2000 Hits" Yukio Tanaka - Back

Another major difference with the Yukio Tanaka set is that the backs of the cards are actually completely different. In the other sets it's the same text although the layout might be slightly different. In this set, each card has something else -- one card has Yukio's career stats, one has a picture of him holding up the "2000 Hits" plaque during the game, and the other has a bunch of text about his career as "Mr. Fighters" and all. It's pretty cool.

Last, I picked out one more set, from one of my absolute favorite pitchers on the planet. These cards were 100 yen each, but I couldn't resist.

"Gorgeous" Shunsuke Watanabe - Front

"Gorgeous" Shunsuke Watanabe - Back

Yeah, they call Shunsuke's card set "Gorgeous", and it is a really nice set of cards, but I think it would have made more sense to just call it "Submarine", heh. I think it looks really neat to have his motion taken frame-by-frame like this on the cards.

Of course, I also kind of want Hisashi Yamada's reflector card from the Back to the 70's set, but that was going for like 400 yen. His normal card in that set doesn't have him in full submarine mode, so it's not as cool.

I don't think there are any more of these three-card sets that I'm interested in (looking at the set list I can't really tell what other threes there are besides the Violent Arakaki one offhand, which I didn't like) though I didn't really have time to look through all of the sets while I was there. Next time, maybe.

Anyway, to lead into a future post I want to show the last two cards I bought:

Draft Story, Yukihiro Nishizaki and Tadanori Ishii - front

Draft Story, Nishizaki and Ishii - back

The "Draft Story" cards are last year's "historic" set, much like this year's "Back to the 70's" set. They show what a player looked like and what his number was when he was drafted -- as seen in my earlier card post, they showed things like Osamu Hamanaka wearing #66, Hirokazu Ibata wearing #48, and so on.

Anyway, as for what the real STORY is here, I'll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with Yukihiro Nishizaki, for once, I just thought the card looked cool. Take a look at the Ishii card? Do you kind of wonder who this "Tadanori Ishii" guy is? Doesn't he look an awful lot like some other guy we know on the Bay Stars now, named "Takuro Ishii"?

Yeah. Somehow, despite actually being a fairly big Takuro fan, I never knew that he changed his name when he changed positions from being a pitcher to an infielder. Go figure. I know he's got a lot of stories in his past, just from his wikipedia page and from japanbaseballdaily, but now I'm really curious and want to find out more. He's already in the Meikyukai and might end up in the Hall of Fame someday too, so it's well worth the research :)

No comments: