Archive for Mr. Baseball

Big Hit, Happy Body: Ichiro’s Japanese rookie added to the collection

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on March 5, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

Since the days of Nomo-Mania, I dreamed of owning a Japanese rookie card of a player who made the transcontinental move from his homeland to Major League Baseball.

In the 90s, Hideo Nomo’s BBM (Baseball Magazine – Japan) rookie card was all the rage.  In fact, in 1998, Topps inserted copies of that card (as well as those of Hideki Irabu and Shigetoshi Hasegawa) into packs of 1998 Bowman for collectors to own.  The cards seemed damn near impossible to find.  Trust me, I opened my fair share of that crappy product and never pulled one.  In fact, I’venever heard of anyone actually pulling one.

I digress.  The allure of owning the  first Japanese card of a Major League star was intriguing to say the least.  And with the magic of the Internet, it’s pretty easy to find what you’re looking for.  Enter the pictured 1993 BBM Ichiro Japanese Rookie.

There’s no shortage of Ichiro Major League rookie cards of the market.  There’s pretty much one for every price point from the bargain shopper to the big spender.  But make no bones about it, there’s always an asterisk in the hobby with 2001 Ichiro rookies.  Fact remains he was an established star in Japan before he ever set foot into the batter’s box at Safeco Field, and his 1993 rookie has to be mentioned in the conversation about cards to own.  He’s a first-ballot hall of famer, and one of the greatest players of this generation.

One problem does exist with these cards, though: They’re often counterfeited, which is discussed in great length here.  (H/T to Sports Card Info for that excellent guide.)

Anyhow, here’s an image of the back of this card.  Love the mugshot of a 20-year-old Ichiro … also the fact that “Did You Know?” is in English while almost everything else is in Japanese Characters. 

Now that I’ve acquired this badboy, I’ve got to go find a nice 1959 Sadaharu Oh rookie to go with this … oh and one of those Hideo Nomo’s, too.