Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tokyo Big 6 University League Spring 2011 Baseball Card Set

I guess I'm kinda sniping NPB Card Guy here, but I got this set 2 weeks ago, right before Opening Day.

I have to admit that I'm overjoyed this set exists at all, as people were really iffy on whether Tokyo Big 6 merchandise would exist at all after Yuki Saitoh graduated, and several players even told me last winter that they were fairly sure there wouldn't be anything this year. Bizarrely, however, that is not the case at all, and you can get a whole variety of goods at Jingu and from Mizuno's shop. (It's even spaced out around Jingu almost like a treasure hunt -- one stall sells towels, another sells t-shirts, another sells cellphone straps... and there's no overlap, so you have to look around.) The only thing that seems to have actually been discontinued is Nikkan Sports's college version of the "ai" magazine series, College Base Heroes. Which is a SHAME, because it was AWESOME.

Anyway, this is the first Tokyo Big 6 set in three years to not have Yuki Saitoh in it at all. Hooray? (Thanks to my sniped card friend for the correction.)

What they seem to be making a big deal of in this set is "Get Nomura and Itoh's cards before they get drafted... and by the way we've put in insert cards of a whole bunch of NPB stars when they were in Tokyo Big 6!" Even BBM's official page only seems to show the alumni insert cards.

As before, I'd still be happier if they did 9 players per team instead of 5 per team and insert cards, but I guess that's what they think sells. (I kind of felt in the past that they did this because they don't want to waste 9 cards on Todai's team, though they could have easily added Katori, Utsumi, and maybe Hiraizumi and Yamakoshi to this set to make 9, and then other teams would get some more players that really deserve cards, like Hosei and Meiji's captains Nanba and Takeda, for a start, as well as guys like Meiji's Shimauchi and Uemoto, Rikkio's Naga and other Hayato Saitoh, and much as I hate to admit it, Waseda's Matsumoto.)

Card list (the number is the card number in the set, plus school year and position, and * denotes team captain)

1. Kensuke Ohno (4, P)
2. Daisuke Ichimaru (4, C)
3. Yuya Watanabe (4, IF)
4. Shota Sugiyama (3, IF)
5. *Shohei Habu (4, OF)
6. Waseda Team

7. Daisuke Takeuchi (3, P)
8. Koji Fukutani (3, P)
9. *Hayata Itoh (4, OF)
10. Ren Yamasaki (3, IF)
11. Ryuta Iba (4, C)
12. Keio Team

13. Tomoya Mikami (4, P)
14. Kazuki Mishima (3, P)
15. Yusuke Hasegawa (4, IF)
16. Hiroshi Taki (3, IF)
17. Kanji Kawai (2, IF)
18. Hosei Team

19. Yusuke Nomura (4, P)
20. Kenji Kawabe (4, C)
21. Toshiki Abe (4, IF)
22. Yosuke Kobayashi (4, IF)
23. Masataka Nakamura (4, OF)
24. Meiji Team

25. Hayato Saitoh (4, P)
26. Kenya Okabe (3, P)
27. Masato Komuro (3, P)
28. *Keisuke Okazaki (4, IF)
29. Koichiro Matsumoto (3, IF)
30. Rikkio Team

31. Shota Suzuki (2, P)
32. Atsushi Tanaka (4, C)
33. *Shuhei Iwasaki (4, IF)
34. Yohei Tachi (3, IF)
35. Hisanari Takayama (4, OF)
36. Todai Team

Insert Cards:
(It seems that you get them paired by university. I got 2 Waseda cards. Dave got 2 Keio cards. Another friend of mine got the 2 Rikkio cards.)

"Heroes" (current student cards)
SP01: Shohei Habu (W)
SP02: Hayata Itoh (K)
SP03: Kazuki Mishima (H)
SP04: Yusuke Nomura (M)
SP05: Keisuke Okazaki (R)
SP06: Shuhei Iwasaki (T)

"Legends" (NPB alumni cards, so I'll list where they're from and where they are)
SP07: Tsuyoshi Wada (W) (Hawks)
SP08: Yoshinobu Takahashi (K) (Giants)
SP09: Atsunori Inaba (H) (Fighters)
SP10: Kenshin Kawakami (M) (MLB Braves AA)
SP11: Daisuke Hayakawa (R) (Baystars)
SP12: Takahiro Matsuka (T) (Fighters)

And here's a few photos of my set:

Front of the box. The pictures are a very weird combination of alumni and current players; 3 cards on the left are alumni but 3 on the right are current, and the 6 guys pictured are Wada, Yoshinobu, Inaba, Nomura, Okazaki, and Iwasaki.

Inside the box -- this is from the November 3rd playoff game, where Waseda and Keio were tied for the final record after Keio won Soukeisen and forced a playoff game for the first time in 50 years.

These are the insert cards in my box, the Waseda set of Wada and Habu.

I picked out my favorite card from each team: Rikkio's Saitoh, Keio's Fukutani, Waseda's Ichimaru, Hosei's Kawai, Meiji's Kawabe, and Todai's Iwasaki.

There are others I like -- actually I like all of the Keio cards and the Rikkio ones aren't bad either. They did a pretty good job with the photography in this set, IMO.

I hope it sells well enough that they still make an autumn set and continue to make these in general. It's funny, I stopped collecting NPB cards in general after the 2008 season except for an occasional box set here and there and of course the Fighters team sets, but I've always gotten the Big 6 cards because they're special to me, almost like having a beloved favorite set of minor-leaguer cards, really.


NPB Card Guy said...

If I wasn't having problems with the DSL at home again, you wouldn't have sniped me...:-)

A minor correction - the first Tokyo Big Six set (2008 Spring Version) also did not have a card of Yuki Saitoh. Until this set, it was the only collegiate set that BBM had done that did not include him.

Deanna said...

My god, you're right, it doesn't have him (and it even has 9 players per team!) I had completely forgotten that. It just seemed so impossible that they made a set during his tenure that didn't have him in it, since I really thought he was the inspiration for it in the first place. Maybe not?