NonSports Forum

Net54baseball.com
Welcome to Net54baseball.com. These forums are devoted to both Pre- and Post- war baseball cards and vintage memorabilia, as well as other sports. There is a separate section for Buying, Selling and Trading - the B/S/T area!! If you give an opinion of a person or company your full name needs to be in your post. Contact the moderator at leon@net54baseball.com should you have any questions or concerns. Enjoy!
Net54baseball.com
Net54baseball.com
T206s on Ebay
Pre-WWII Cards
Post WWII Cards
Vintage Memorabilia
Babe Ruth Cards
Ty Cobb Cards
Lou Gehrig Cards
Mickey Mantle Cards
Goudey Cards
Bowman Cards
T205s on Ebay
Tobacco "T" Cards
Caramel "E" Cards
Vintage Baseball Postcards
Football Cards on Ebay
Exhibit Cards
Strip Cards
Baking Cards
Sporting News
Playball Cards on Ebay

Go Back   Net54baseball.com Forums > Net54baseball Postwar Sportscard Forums > Postwar Baseball Cards Forum (Pre-1980)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #201  
Old 07-28-2019, 12:36 PM
nat's Avatar
nat nat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 581
Default Kenjiro Nomura

Kenjiro Nomura was Hiroshimaís shortstop from 1989 to 2005. As a young man he had good power, good speed, a healthy OBP, and played pretty much every day. Sort of Alan-Trammell-like. Age 31 was his last really good year, after that he missed lots of time every season for the rest of his career, retiring after his age 38 season. Nomuraís best season was 1995, in which he hit 32 home runs (double the figure that is his career high otherwise), stole 30 bases (three off his career high), and slashed 315/380/560. While playing shortstop. The HR total was second in the league, as was his batting average, and he was third in slugging percentage. In total he was an all-star eight times and was selected to three best-nines. Albright regards him as Japanís 9th greatest shortstop.

Nomura really wasnít a good player in his 30s, he lost his SS job to Eddy Diaz and age quickly caught up with him. But he did hang on long enough to qualify for the Meikyukai with his 2000th hit in 2005. Replacing Nomura was kind of weird. He went downhill quickly, but he was still a star when he lost his job. Diaz was not immediately an improvement. He had two iffy seasons, one season that matched Nomuraís 1995, one decent season, and then he was off to Korea.

After retiring he coached the Carp and spent five seasons managing them. Traditionally the Carp have been a second-division team, but under Nomura they managed to improve pretty steadily. Nevertheless, his tenure was for only those five years. As of 2016 he was a member of the Kansas City Royalsí baseball-ops team in Japan. I presume that means scouting. And in 2017 he enrolled in the Hiroshima Universityís MA program in ďCoaching Science and Sports PsychologyĒ, saying something about how he expects it to be useful in his second career. Which makes it sound like he wants to get back into managing.

Meikyukai: yes - Hall of Fame: no

My card is from the 1994 BBM set. Over time (probably due to hanging out on a pre-war baseball card message board) I have developed a casual distaste for standard, post 1956 American-style baseball cards. And that means BBM cards. That said, the design on their 1994 offering is pretty nice. If we should have learned anything from 1953 Bowman, itís that less (usually-Iíll admit to a certain affection for Delongs) is more on baseball cards. And, except for the logo, the 1994 BBM set is nice and clean.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg k nomura.jpg (61.7 KB, 104 views)
File Type: jpg k nomura back.jpg (67.9 KB, 101 views)
Reply With Quote
  #202  
Old 07-29-2019, 10:47 PM
nat's Avatar
nat nat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 581
Default Masaji Hiramatsu (pt. 2)

My policy is that I get a copy of a player's card for each collection that he's a part of. Hall of fame collection =/= meikyukai collection, so I need a second card for each player who is a member of both.

Hence today's post.

Masaji Hiramatsu was a great pitcher for the Whales. I said rather more about him in the piece just linked than I will say here.

Hiramatsu was elected to the hall of fame by the experts committee - which has jurisdiction over players who have been retired for at least 21 years. Sounds a lot like the Veteran's Committee here. There is also a player's committee, which is basically a guy's first shot at election, and special committees that elect umpires, guys who published baseball's rule book (I'm not kidding, check out Mirei Suzuki), and so on.

Japanese starters have always pitched more in relief than American starters do, but here's a fun fact about Hiramatsu: he has almost exactly the same number of complete games as games finished. 145/146, respectively.

One thing that I find curious about Japanese baseball is how seriously they take the Koshien tournament. It's the high school baseball championship, and it's a huge deal. This comes to mind at the moment because Hiramatsu's team won the tournament, and whenever someone is writing about him that fact always gets mentioned right next to the fact that he won the Sawamura Award, which, to an American mind, would seem to be a much bigger deal.

Meikyukai: Yes - Hall of fame: Yes

Round menkos are best known for dominating the early post-war menko scene. Basically, menko cards from the late 1940s to early 1950s are either round or relatively narrow pillars. There are many sets of each, but the round sets tend, in my observation, to be more common. Round menko cards (of baseball players at least) then disappeared for a couple decades. There was a sort of mini-revival in the 1970s. This card is from the JRM 10 set, issued in 1976. It's a common and inexpensive set (I paid more for shipping on this card than I did for the card itself).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hiramatsu 2.jpg (69.6 KB, 99 views)
Reply With Quote
  #203  
Old 08-01-2019, 09:13 PM
NVPackFan NVPackFan is offline
member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 1
Default General Question about Menko Cards

Hello and thank you for your posts. Very educational as I'm just now starting to learn about vintage Japanese cards. I have some questions though that I can't seem to find answers to so thought maybe you all can help.

First, can you explain the "JCM..." set name system? it appears that there are the same numbers but for different years. Then, when I look on eBay, I see these two cards of Sadaharu Oh listed that look virtually identical but one is "JCM12e" but the other one is "JCM12b." I honestly can't see what the difference is but can you tell me how they differ?

Thanks for any info you can provide.

-Damon
Attached Images
File Type: jpg JCM12e - Front.jpg (76.3 KB, 86 views)
File Type: jpg JCM12e - Back.jpg (76.4 KB, 88 views)
File Type: jpg JCM12b - Front.jpg (71.7 KB, 85 views)
File Type: jpg JCM12b - Back.jpg (76.8 KB, 86 views)
Reply With Quote
  #204  
Old 08-01-2019, 11:38 PM
seanofjapan's Avatar
seanofjapan seanofjapan is online now
Sean McGinty
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Japan
Posts: 217
Default

JCM = "Japanese Card Menko". Menko are a kind of card playing game in Japan with cards made of thick cardboard which were meant to be thrown against other cards on the ground in an attempt to flip them over. Most Japanese cards from the 50s and 60s are Menko and the numbering system is confusing because so many sets are being discovered basically out of order. Also a lot of slightly different sets were issued by the same maker in the same year, so they are given the same number but with an a,b,c etc added.

The cards of some players from JCM 12b and 12e sets are almost identical. They just know that they are different sets from uncut sheets, the 12e set has more players. According to Engel the distinguishing feature of a 12e cards is that the player image has a more painted look to it.
__________________
My blog about collecting cards in Japan: https://baseballcardsinjapan.blogspot.jp/

Last edited by seanofjapan; 08-01-2019 at 11:40 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #205  
Old 08-02-2019, 08:11 PM
nat's Avatar
nat nat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 581
Default Kazuya Fukuura

Kazuya Fukuura played first base for the Marines for, approximately, ever. He broke in as a 21 year old in 1997, and was still an active player as of this year, although he has appeared in only nine games for the Marinesí minor league team. He has announced that he is retiring at the end of the season, but given that heís only managed to play in nine games this year, it wouldnít surprise me if he was, in fact, retired already. Fukuura always seems to be compared to Mark Grace, and the comparison seems apt, at least in that theyíre both singles hitting first basemen. Fukuura has no power to speak of. In 2003 he managed 21 home runs, but heís usually in single digits, and from 2012 to 2018 he managed a total of three. Fukuuraís 2000th (and so Meikyukai-qualifying) hit was a double on September 22nd of last year. Of all of the players who managed to get 2000 hits, he was the second oldest when he pulled it off, and he had appeared in the third-most games. Mike Bolsinger (former Diamondback-Dodger-BlueJay, and currently Marine) has a really nice clip of Fukuuraís 2000th hit on his twitter feed.

Given his background, that he was a singles hitter shouldnít be much of a surprise. He was originally a pitcher, and was, in that capacity, the Marinesí 7th round draft pick in 1993. An injury curtailed his pitching career, and led to a transition to being a position player. As a left-handed thrower, his only options were first base or the outfield. He wasnít fast, which probably explains opting for first base. He was a three-time gold glove award winner, and was selected to the best nine team in 2010.

Now, about that Mark Grace comparison. Grace was actually a good hitter, and decent player all-around, until the last year or so of his career. FukuuraÖ wasnít. The last year that Fukuura was any good was 2010. He was bad in 2011, and his playing time diminished thereafter. As befits a singles hitter, he managed to keep a healthy on base percentage for a few years, but his power, never notable to begin with, slipped even further. The final 500 hits took him about 800 games spread out over nine seasons. Given that he had exactly 2000 hits at the big league level, Iím guessing that he was demoted immediately after qualifying for the Meikyukai.

Meikyukai: Yes - Hall of Fame: No

The card is from the 2001 Calbee set.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg fukuura.jpg (47.5 KB, 77 views)
File Type: jpg fukuura back.jpg (68.6 KB, 79 views)
Reply With Quote
  #206  
Old 08-05-2019, 11:10 PM
nat's Avatar
nat nat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 581
Default Noboru Aota (part 2)

Iíve got an Aota card on an uncut menko sheet. But it doesnít really fit in my binder. Tough life, I know. So anyways, I picked up another one.

Hereís what I wrote about him before.

Aota was a slugging outfielder who played with several different teams from 1942 to 1959. He held the career home run record for a little while, and led the league in home runs five times. In 1948, one of the years in which he led the league in home runs, he also led the league in batting average (barely, .001 over Kozuru and Yamamoto), but missed out on a triple crown by nine RBIs. B-R says that he was traded by the Giants to the Whales, but as always I canít find the player who went the other way. Iím starting to doubt that they actually traded players back then.

Letís do some adjustments for context, and see how big of a slugger Aota was. Weíll start with that 1948 season in which he nearly won a triple crown. His raw numbers were: 306/339/499, against a league average of 242/300/329. Put that into the 2018 American League and you get a 315 batting average, 359 on base percentage, and 632 slugging percentage. Letís look at 1951 also. His raw line was 312/378/582. League average was 264/329/375. In a 2018 American League context that works out to 294/366/645. That slugging percentage is better than anyone managed in 2018, the on-base percentage, while good, wouldnít have ranked among the league leaders. Itís a reasonably good match for what Nelson Cruz is doing for MIN this year. Given his home run hitting ways, I want to compare him to Ralph Kiner, but Aota was much faster, and Kiner was much better at getting on base. Positional differences aside, maybe Home Run Baker is the comparable American player.

Aota was elected to the hall of fame in 2009. Since he had died some years earlier, Shigeru Sugishita gave a part of his acceptance speech (his widow also gave a speech) and said that, while he was in the army, Aota was capable of throwing a grenade 84 meters. Which sounds like a hell of a long throw to me. The hall notes that he was nicknamed ďUnruly BroncoĒ. Albright thinks he was Japanís 71st greatest player.

Meikyukai: No Ė Hall of Fame: Yes

The card is an uncatalogued bromide. There must be a zillion uncatalogued bromide sets. I did a quick scan over my collection, and more than half of my bromides are from uncatalogued sets. Iíve got plenty of uncatalogued menko cards too, but the percentage isnít that extreme. Lots of these sets are also very similar. The only difference between this card and my Tsubouchi card is that it is ever so slightly smaller. Since I already had an Aota card (if only as a part of an uncut sheet), this one doesnít get me any closer to finishing the hall of fame collection. Itís impossible to tell precisely when this card was issued. Aota is on the Giants, so that narrows it down to 1948 to 1952, but I canít say anything more definitive than that.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg aota2.jpg (35.4 KB, 66 views)
Reply With Quote
  #207  
Old 08-07-2019, 11:04 PM
nat's Avatar
nat nat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 581
Default Kazuhiro Kiyohara

Kazuhiro Kiyohara was one of Japanís greatest players. He was first baseman for the Lions from 1986 through 1996, for the Giants until 2005, and then for the Buffaloes for a couple years. The Meikyukai came calling upon his 2000th hit (for the Giants in 2004), and of his 2122 hits, 525 were home runs. That figure puts him 5th all-time for home runs, just above Ochiai and just below Koji Yamamoto. He appears to have been a lumbering slugger, as both his SB and 3B figures are quite low. But if youíve got a player who puts up a 389/520 batting line, you can put up with a certain amount of plodding.

Kiyoharaís tenure with the Lions was exceptionally successful. They were the dominant team in the late 80-early 90s period. Letís take a look at one of these teams. Hereís the OPS leaders from the 1991 Seibu Lions: Orestes Destrade, Koji Akiyama, Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Hiromichi Ishige, Norio Tanabe. Seven guys with above average OPSs (below average and part-timers omitted from the list). Destrade was an infield-outfield type from Cuba who mucked around in the Yankees and Pirates minor league systems (with a couple cups of coffee) starting in 1983. He went to Seibu and instantly became a huge slugger. Coming back to the states he was on the inaugural Marlins team, and was the second best hitter (after Mr. Marlin himself, Jeff Conine) on the team. Destrade spent 94 with the Marlins but didnít wait out the strike. He returned to Seibu for 1995, then retired. Akiyama was one of Japanís great players and Iíve written about him elsewhere. Ishige was the third baseman. He was a strong player in his own right. He didnít get into the Meikyukai, but he came close. I donít know what his glove was like, but offensively you might compare him to someone like Scott Rolen. Tanabe was a doubles hitting shortstop. Looking over his stat line, he doesnít seem like a star to me.

They also had a nice starting rotation, or at least a nice top-3. (After that most teams sort of mix-and-match anyway.) Watanabe, the starter with the best ERA, appears to have blown out his arm in 1992, but he was a young star before that. Taigen Kaku had a relatively short but reasonably successful career. He reminds me of someone like Jimmy Key. And then there was Kimiyasu Kudo. In 1991 he was at the top of his considerable game, and he would continue pitching until he was 47. This was a really good team: a couple hall of famers, a Meikyukai member, a young star, and (effectively) Scott Rolen and Jimmy Key. Thatís a team that will win you a lot of games.

Now, back to Kiyohara. He was a 17x all-star and won the Japan Series eight times. But great as he was, he could have been better. Throughout basically the last half of his career he was constantly sidelined by injuries. There were significant differences between them (first base vs. center field being one of them), but in some ways his career has the feel of Ken Griffey Jr.ís. Amazing first acts, followed by a debilitating rash of injuries. Both ended up being all-time greats, but Griffey in the 1990s felt like ďgreatĒ wasnít going to do it. At the time it felt like they were going to have to come up with some new words in order to describe him. I wasnít hanging around Saitama in the 1990s, but I bet Kiyohara had the same feel to him.

Kiyohara was drafted out of PL Gakuen, one of the main powerhouses of Japanese high school baseball. Robert Whiting reports that the school has (or, at least, as of the writing of You Gotta Have Wa, had) a practice field with the same dimensions as Koshien Stadium at which the annual high school baseball championship tournament was held. PL Gakuen won Koshien twice while Kiyohara was a student, although perhaps Ďstudentí is a bit too strong of a word. PL Gakuenís focus is on baseball in a way that might be familiar from certain football programs in America. Hara, another Gakuen product, is alleged, upon being asked what he would major in when he went to college, to ask what a major is.

Japan takes Koshien seriously in a way that is hard for me to make sense of. I grew up next to a top college football program, and yes, reminders of that are everywhere (even people who didnít attend the school wear school gear), but even in a huge college football town, football isnít given theÖ religious?... dedication that Koshien summons. Whiting describes it as a combination of the World Series and the Superbowl, except that it also seems to be regarded as a test of character, and an embodiment of a kind of Japanese ideal. The approach to baseball and, I guess, to life, that leads to the 1000-fungo drill (doesnít take much imagination to figure out what that is), corporal punishment for players, and ďvoluntaryĒ practices that last hours after official practice ends is celebrated, finds its apotheosis maybe, in Koshien. None of that quite expresses what Iím trying to say Ė one of the hazards of saying something when youíre not quite sure what youíre trying to say Ė but there seems to be a deeply weird attitude that attends what is really a kidsí baseball tournament.

Incidentally, the chapter on high school baseball is the best part of You Gotta Have Wa, and comes highly recommended. Hereís an article about Koshien that Whiting wrote for the Japan Times.

PL Gakuen has produced 65 professional baseball players. (I wonder what the record for an American high school is.) Including one major leaguer: Kenta Maeda, currently a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. As of 2016, however (I couldnít find anything more recent), it had suspended its baseball program in response to what the Mainichi newspaper calls a ďseries of abuse scandalsĒ. They do have a Twitter account, so maybe theyíre still active, but itís hard for me to understand whatís going on in a regular Twitter feed, much less one that I canít read, so Iím not sure. They at any rate didnít appear in the 2018 tournament.

Kiyohara was a flashy star. He once said that he only wanted to play professional baseball because it allowed him meet beautiful women and buy fast cars. However, he was arrested for drug possession shortly after his retirement from baseball (he was given a suspended sentence of two and a half years), and later admitted to using amphetamines while he was playing. (Rumors of steroids have also followed him around for years, but those are so far unsubstantiated.) Amphetamines were once common in MLB, but they are now prohibited and are, I think, among the substances that MLB tests for. The arrest was apparently a big scandal. Kiyoharaís kids were told to leave the prestigious school (elementary/middle in both cases) that they attended when news of their fatherís problem came out. Word is that theyíre moving to the US to avoid further fall out. The hall of fame had him on the ballot for several years (it seems to be common in Japan for even big stars to wait years to get elected), but removed him from the ballot after his conviction. They left open the possibility that he would be reinstated (who knows how the voting would go), but said that it would require significant rehabilitation, and that ďthe road is steepĒ. In recent years he has done things like appear at anti-addiction events organized by the Ministry of Health.

And finally, my favorite Kiyohara fact: he said that he has a very big head, and that when he joined Seibu they didnít have a helmet that fit him. Nosing around in the team storage lockers, however, he found one of Katsuya Nomuraís old helmets (which must have been sitting there for the past six years), and it fit perfectly. He used the same helmet for his entire career, and had it repainted whenever he changed teams. (Source)

Meikyukai: Yes - Hall of fame: No

The card is from the 1993 BBM set.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg kiyohara.jpg (56.7 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg kiyohara back.jpg (63.1 KB, 59 views)
Reply With Quote
  #208  
Old 08-12-2019, 08:16 PM
nat's Avatar
nat nat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 581
Default Seiichi Uchikawa

Seiichi Uchikawa is a LF/RF/1B kind of guy, currently with Softbank. He broke into the league in 2001 at an 18 year old with the Yokohama Bay Stars, then left for the Hawks in 2011 and has been with them ever since. Uchikawa has a little power, but more of what weíd think of as ďgap powerĒ than the real thing. Expect teens HR numbers each year, topping out at 19. Likewise, his batting average is healthy but heís not a guy whose game solely depends on it (like Gwynn, or Boggs, or Ichiro). That said, he did win two batting titles, in 2008 and 2011. That 2011 batting title also came with an MVP award. For his career heís got a 304/350/443 batting line and 2140 hits. Heís one of the newer Meikyukai members, having qualified just last year. Allow me to nominate Fred Lynn as a comparable player, with the notable exception that Lynn was a center fielder. Looks like he was a 5x best-nine, and made a bunch of all-star teams. Notably, he had a key pinch hit in the 2017 all-star game. Who was he pinch hitting for? Shohei Otani. Youíd think that wouldnít be necessary, even though heís a pitcher. But Otani wasnít even pitching in this game, he was in at DH. Maybe this was one of those ďget everybody into the all-star gameĒ moves. Which I sort of understand (especially when the game is in Baltimore and Mike Mussina is in the pen), but it also leads to some very weird outcomes, where, e.g., Dereck Turnbow ends up pitching important innings in a close game.

As near as I can tell, his Japanese Wikipedia page says that his .378 batting average in 2008 is the record for a right-handed hitter in Japan. The previous mark was Tetsuharu Kawakamiís .377 mark in 1951. It also lists this as ďhis songĒ. Which I guess means walk-up music?

His initial contract with Softbank was worth 1.36 billion Yen. Which sounds like a lot of money, until you remember that one Yen is worth about a penny. I mean, Iíll take a 4 year, 13 million dollar contract, but if thatís the kind of cash that star players are pulling down itís no surprise that Otani wanted to come to the US. (Of course what is surprising is that he didnít wait until he was a free agent, but thatís another matter.)

Now is a good time to be a Hawk. Uchikawa has won the Japan Series five times since joining the Hawks, including four of the past five years. Things are looking promising for them this year too, theyíre in first place in the Pacific League, with a healthy but not insurmountable lead over the Lions.

The Japan Times refers to him as a ďfuture hall of famerĒ, which, I guess. Now I'm not advocating his induction, but Fred Lynn wouldnít exactly be an embarrassment to the US hall either.

Meikyukai: Yes Ė Hall of fame: No

The card is from the 2013 BBM set. BBM sure loves its subsets. The one that this card is drawn from celebrates league leaders.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg uchikawa.jpg (50.8 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg uchikawa back.jpg (67.5 KB, 43 views)
Reply With Quote
  #209  
Old 08-18-2019, 06:29 PM
Exhibitman's Avatar
Exhibitman Exhibitman is offline
Ad@m W@r$h@w
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Beautiful Downtown Burbank
Posts: 7,389
Default

Picked up this Bromide at the National:



Lefty O'Doul and Giants manager Mizuhara
__________________
Please visit my web site: www.americasgreatboxingcards.com
Judge a man by how he treats someone who can do nothing for him--Nick Charles
10% off any BIN in my eBay store (user name: exhibitman) for N54 members buying direct from me through this site instead, just PM me.
Reply With Quote
  #210  
Old 08-18-2019, 08:59 PM
seanofjapan's Avatar
seanofjapan seanofjapan is online now
Sean McGinty
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Japan
Posts: 217
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
Picked up this Bromide at the National:



Lefty O'Doul and Giants manager Mizuhara
Nice pick up!

Though that isn't actually Giants Manager Mizuhara, the Japanese guy is Shinji Hamazaki (manager of the Braves).
__________________
My blog about collecting cards in Japan: https://baseballcardsinjapan.blogspot.jp/
Reply With Quote
  #211  
Old 08-18-2019, 10:44 PM
nat's Avatar
nat nat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 581
Default Isao Shibata

Love the bromide Adam! I'm a big fan of pretty much anything Lefty O'Doul related. Probably one of the most interesting people ever associated with baseball.

The cards that I've got to post today aren't as cool as an old bromide, but old Calbees are nice too.

Isao Shibata was an outfielder for the V9-era Giants. He played for them from 1962 to 1981, from the ages of 18 to 37. Offensively, his game appears to have been built around speed. The 400 career slugging percentage indicates that hitting long balls wasnít part of the plan. (Fortunately he had Oh and Nagashima in the line up to handle that part of the game.) If I had to guess, Iíd say that he was probably the V9ís leadoff hitter. (N.B.: confirmed by B-R.) For his career he put up a 267/347/400 batting line. None of those marks are particularly impressive. His 579 career stolen bases are somewhat better. A cursory internet search doesnít turn up a list of career leaders, but Iím guessing that thatís third all-time in Japan. Hirose is second all-time, and heís only about 10 steals ahead of Shibata.

There is, however, a problem with trying to build your career around your feet. The run-value of a stolen base just isnít very high, and the cost, in terms of expected runs, of getting thrown out stealing, is. Just how proficient you must be at stealing bases for it to be worthwhile depends on the context in which you play. Higher scoring contexts make stealing a riskier bet for two reasons: (1) if you donít steal, thereís a fair chance that one of the guys behind you will drive you in anyways, and (2) in a high scoring environment, each out is worth a greater amount of runs, so youíre betting more runs on your ability to successfully steal a base than you would be in a low run scoring environment.

The Book goes into this in some detail. They found that as of (IIRC) 2005, in MLB you needed to steal at a 75% success rate in order to break even; that is, if you were getting thrown out more than 25% of the time, then you were costing your team runs by trying to steal. Now, since the context in which Shibata was playing isnít the same as the context that Tango et al. used to generate data for their calculations, you canít just import that number over in order to evaluate Shibata. Doing all the calculations for Japan in the sixties and seventies would be a lot of work, and Iím much too lazy to do it. Quickly eyeballing it will give us some idea, however. The 2003 NL scored an average of 4.61 runs per team game, the 1971 Central League (to pick a year from the middle of Shibataís career) scored 3.23 runs per team game. Thatís a big difference. They really werenít scoring any runs in the Central League in the early 70s. So thatís, what, 25% fewer runs in the Central League than in the leagues Tango was using for his data? So the run value of an out in the context in which Shibata was playing was considerably lower than early 2000s NL. Which means that he would need a success rate of a good bit less than 75% in order for him to contribute value with those stolen bases. And, in fact, Shibata stole bases at exactly a 75% success rate for his career.

In the MLB that would put him tied for 194th for career stolen base percentage. (Tied with, among others, Dustin Pedroia, Brian Dozier, and Michael Young.) Given the higher scoring environment in which these Americans play, theyíre not contributing much value with their steal attempts. (Yes, yes, itís a discretional play, youíre more likely to try it when one run matters and the hitters coming up behind you stink, etc etc. I know. But R/G is even higher now than it was in 2003, and even if itís discretionary, if youíre below the average break even point, youíre not helping too much.) But given that they were only scoring a bit more than 3 runs per game, Shibata was adding a fair amount of value with his 75% success rate.

Like Kawakami had his red bat, Shibata had his red gloves. The story goes (Japanese Wikipedia page for the source) that when he was practicing with the Dodgers (for a while MLB teams and Japanese teams would do spring training together) he found that he had forgotten his batting gloves. He went next door to a golf club to try to find something that would do, and all they had were red womenís gloves. I donít know if he continued using golf gloves in place of batting gloves, but red gloves apparently became his trademark.

He was originally drafted as a pitcher. In fact, his initial claim to fame was leading his high school team to a pair of championships at Koshien on the mound. That didnít last. As a pro, he was terrible. But he had a strong arm, and a transition to the outfield was natural. His Japanese Wikipedia page says that he was Japanís first switch hitter. (Really? They didnít have switch hitters until the 1960s?)

Shibata was a 12x all-star and a 4x member of the best nine team. Heís in the top 20 all-time in triples, runs, steals, and walks. Albright considers him to be Japanís 68th greatest player and thinks that heís worthy of the hall of fame. I donít know about how precisely he compares to #s 67 or 69, but I agree that he would be a good fit for the hall of fame. He just isnít in yet.

Meikyukai: Yes Ė Hall of Fame: No

My cards are mid 70s Calbee cards. I think one is from 77 and the other from 76.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg shibata.jpg (40.0 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg shibata back.jpg (33.3 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg shibata 2.jpg (57.1 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg shibata 2 back.jpg (21.2 KB, 24 views)
Reply With Quote
  #212  
Old 08-19-2019, 12:37 PM
Northviewcats Northviewcats is online now
Joe Drouillard
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,633
Default Calbee

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat View Post
Love the bromide Adam! I'm a big fan of pretty much anything Lefty O'Doul related. Probably one of the most interesting people ever associated with baseball.

The cards that I've got to post today aren't as cool as an old bromide, but old Calbees are nice too.

Isao Shibata was an outfielder for the V9-era Giants. He played for them from 1962 to 1981, from the ages of 18 to 37. Offensively, his game appears to have been built around speed. The 400 career slugging percentage indicates that hitting long balls wasnít part of the plan. (Fortunately he had Oh and Nagashima in the line up to handle that part of the game.) If I had to guess, Iíd say that he was probably the V9ís leadoff hitter. (N.B.: confirmed by B-R.) For his career he put up a 267/347/400 batting line. None of those marks are particularly impressive. His 579 career stolen bases are somewhat better. A cursory internet search doesnít turn up a list of career leaders, but Iím guessing that thatís third all-time in Japan. Hirose is second all-time, and heís only about 10 steals ahead of Shibata.

There is, however, a problem with trying to build your career around your feet. The run-value of a stolen base just isnít very high, and the cost, in terms of expected runs, of getting thrown out stealing, is. Just how proficient you must be at stealing bases for it to be worthwhile depends on the context in which you play. Higher scoring contexts make stealing a riskier bet for two reasons: (1) if you donít steal, thereís a fair chance that one of the guys behind you will drive you in anyways, and (2) in a high scoring environment, each out is worth a greater amount of runs, so youíre betting more runs on your ability to successfully steal a base than you would be in a low run scoring environment.

The Book goes into this in some detail. They found that as of (IIRC) 2005, in MLB you needed to steal at a 75% success rate in order to break even; that is, if you were getting thrown out more than 25% of the time, then you were costing your team runs by trying to steal. Now, since the context in which Shibata was playing isnít the same as the context that Tango et al. used to generate data for their calculations, you canít just import that number over in order to evaluate Shibata. Doing all the calculations for Japan in the sixties and seventies would be a lot of work, and Iím much too lazy to do it. Quickly eyeballing it will give us some idea, however. The 2003 NL scored an average of 4.61 runs per team game, the 1971 Central League (to pick a year from the middle of Shibataís career) scored 3.23 runs per team game. Thatís a big difference. They really werenít scoring any runs in the Central League in the early 70s. So thatís, what, 25% fewer runs in the Central League than in the leagues Tango was using for his data? So the run value of an out in the context in which Shibata was playing was considerably lower than early 2000s NL. Which means that he would need a success rate of a good bit less than 75% in order for him to contribute value with those stolen bases. And, in fact, Shibata stole bases at exactly a 75% success rate for his career.

In the MLB that would put him tied for 194th for career stolen base percentage. (Tied with, among others, Dustin Pedroia, Brian Dozier, and Michael Young.) Given the higher scoring environment in which these Americans play, theyíre not contributing much value with their steal attempts. (Yes, yes, itís a discretional play, youíre more likely to try it when one run matters and the hitters coming up behind you stink, etc etc. I know. But R/G is even higher now than it was in 2003, and even if itís discretionary, if youíre below the average break even point, youíre not helping too much.) But given that they were only scoring a bit more than 3 runs per game, Shibata was adding a fair amount of value with his 75% success rate.

Like Kawakami had his red bat, Shibata had his red gloves. The story goes (Japanese Wikipedia page for the source) that when he was practicing with the Dodgers (for a while MLB teams and Japanese teams would do spring training together) he found that he had forgotten his batting gloves. He went next door to a golf club to try to find something that would do, and all they had were red womenís gloves. I donít know if he continued using golf gloves in place of batting gloves, but red gloves apparently became his trademark.

He was originally drafted as a pitcher. In fact, his initial claim to fame was leading his high school team to a pair of championships at Koshien on the mound. That didnít last. As a pro, he was terrible. But he had a strong arm, and a transition to the outfield was natural. His Japanese Wikipedia page says that he was Japanís first switch hitter. (Really? They didnít have switch hitters until the 1960s?)

Shibata was a 12x all-star and a 4x member of the best nine team. Heís in the top 20 all-time in triples, runs, steals, and walks. Albright considers him to be Japanís 68th greatest player and thinks that heís worthy of the hall of fame. I donít know about how precisely he compares to #s 67 or 69, but I agree that he would be a good fit for the hall of fame. He just isnít in yet.

Meikyukai: Yes Ė Hall of Fame: No

My cards are mid 70s Calbee cards. I think one is from 77 and the other from 76.
Love this thread. Learning so much. Thought that I would share a few scans of a few Calbee baseball cards from the 1970s that I have in my collection.

First group is from 1973. Three of the cards are of Sadaharu Oh. Not sure who is the other player.

Second group is from 1974. The cards are numbered in English. I believe all three are of Oh.

Third group is from 1975-76. Three of the cards are of Oh, number 1190 is of Harimoto.

Best regards,

Joe
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 23.jpg (72.0 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg 24.jpg (74.6 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg 25.jpg (69.7 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg 26.jpg (71.6 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg 27.jpg (75.1 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg 28.jpg (72.7 KB, 25 views)
Reply With Quote
  #213  
Old 08-19-2019, 08:58 PM
seanofjapan's Avatar
seanofjapan seanofjapan is online now
Sean McGinty
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Japan
Posts: 217
Default

Nice cards Joe!

The player other than Oh in your 1973 lot is Tsuneo Horiuchi, a HOF pitcher for the Giants.

With your 1974s two of them are Sadaharu Oh, but one of them (card #20) is Yukinobu Kuroe who also played for the Giants.

One of your 1975-76 Ohs (#789) is from the series commemorating his 700th home run, which is one of the harder series to find in that set.
__________________
My blog about collecting cards in Japan: https://baseballcardsinjapan.blogspot.jp/
Reply With Quote
  #214  
Old 08-20-2019, 04:44 PM
Northviewcats Northviewcats is online now
Joe Drouillard
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,633
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanofjapan View Post
Nice cards Joe!

The player other than Oh in your 1973 lot is Tsuneo Horiuchi, a HOF pitcher for the Giants.

With your 1974s two of them are Sadaharu Oh, but one of them (card #20) is Yukinobu Kuroe who also played for the Giants.

One of your 1975-76 Ohs (#789) is from the series commemorating his 700th home run, which is one of the harder series to find in that set.
Thanks Sean for the information. I appreciate it.

Best regards,

Joe
Reply With Quote
  #215  
Old 08-21-2019, 05:33 PM
Exhibitman's Avatar
Exhibitman Exhibitman is offline
Ad@m W@r$h@w
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Beautiful Downtown Burbank
Posts: 7,389
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanofjapan View Post
Nice pick up!

Though that isn't actually Giants Manager Mizuhara, the Japanese guy is Shinji Hamazaki (manager of the Braves).
Thanks; my bad.
__________________
Please visit my web site: www.americasgreatboxingcards.com
Judge a man by how he treats someone who can do nothing for him--Nick Charles
10% off any BIN in my eBay store (user name: exhibitman) for N54 members buying direct from me through this site instead, just PM me.
Reply With Quote
  #216  
Old 08-21-2019, 10:33 PM
nat's Avatar
nat nat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 581
Default Atsunori Inaba

If you reversed Atsunori Inaba’s career – made the second half the first half and the first half the second half – it would look pretty normal. He was an outfielder who split his time between Yakult (when he was young) and Nippon Ham (for his second act). As a hitter: he had intermediate power, and on base skills that varied widely during his career. Home runs you’ll get some of, but we’re usually talking teens in the HR department, sometimes into the 20s per year. In the early part of his career he was posting OBPs in the low 300s, rising to the upper 300s in his mid 30s.

That’s part of what would make his career look normal in reverse. He also had much more playing time latter in his career. In large part this seems to have been due to injuries. That a player would be injury plagued as a young man, and not when they’re older, is super weird. One of the best predictors of future injury is past injury, in large measure because there are lots of injuries that never heal quite right. This will lead to more missed time because of a recurrence, or missed time because a player injures himself compensating for the injury that didn’t really heal. Back injuries are notorious for this, but hand/wrist injuries do it to, and so do, to a lesser extent, lots of others. So if a young player is missing a lot of playing time due to injuries, you’d expect him to either continue missing time when he gets older (Eric Chavez, for example), or simply be unable to continue (like Troy Tulowitzki).

Inaba often missed 40 or 50 games per year when he was with Yakult. Sounds a lot like Tulowitzki. And you would expect his career to end about age 30, just like Tulo’s did. (Technically Tulowitzki played until age 34, but he only appeared in five games this year, none last year, and missed most of the year before.) Entirely unexpectedly, Inaba stopped getting hurt and played full seasons from age 31 through 39. It’s really his 30s that make him a great player. If he had followed a more normal career path, he would have been a promising young player who didn’t pan out. He collected his 2000th (and so Meikyukai-qualifying) hit in 2012 while playing for Nippon Ham.

A word about Japanese team names. “Nippon Ham Fighters” is every American’s favorite Japanese team name, because Americans either don’t know or don’t care that ‘Nippon Ham’ is the name of the company that owns the team, and ‘Fighters’ is the name of the team itself. Americans, me included, really like to imagine a baseball team fighting a ham. Or maybe a ham that is itself a fighter. Sadly, that’s not the way that it works. Japanese teams are often referred to by the name of the corporation that owns them, and then their team’s nickname. Or sometimes (as I was doing at the beginning of this post) just by the company name. Because ‘Hankyu and ‘Yomiuri’ aren’t recognizable to Americans, this doesn’t sound too weird. But imagine if MLB had similar naming conventions: The Rodgers Communication Blue Jays, The Liberty Media Braves, I guess ‘The Nintendo of America Mariners’ isn’t as bad as it could be. Imagine saying that Chipper Jones spent his entire career playing third base for Liberty Media (although of course they were called ‘Warner Broadcasting’ during his early days). Imagine rooting for “Yankee Global Enterprises LLC”. (That’s the name of the company that the Steinbrenner family mostly controls that actually owns the Yankees.) The idea is gross. The old joke goes that in the 50s rooting for the Yankees was like rooting for US Steel. What if it was rooting for US Steel?

Back to Inaba. He was a 5x best nine and seven time all-star. His fans have a special cheer for him called the ‘Inaba jump’. Enough people participate that the TV feed from the Sapporo Dome might shake when he comes to bat. He admits to loving potato chips and says that during the off season sometimes he gets fat because he eats too many potato chips and doesn’t work out enough. He says that he likes wearing uniform number 41 because it kind of looks like his initials. For a comparable American player – maybe Hunter Pence? (Except for the weird injury pattern.) Medium range power, unexceptional OBP, let Pence play until he’s in his early 40s and their careers might look similar. Or maybe if Torii Hunter had been a slow corner outfielder instead of a fairly speedy center fielder? Given his number of best-nine selections, however, he clearly had more star power than either of those guys.

After he retired he became the manager of the Japanese national team, and is tasked with leading the team in the 2020 Olympics.

The card is another one from the 2013 BBM Crosswind subset.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Inaba.jpg (44.2 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Inaba back.jpg (46.8 KB, 11 views)

Last edited by nat; 08-21-2019 at 10:35 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Japanese card help conor912 Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions 5 02-10-2017 01:27 PM
Anyone have a 1930's Japanese Bat? jerseygary Net54baseball Sports (Primarily) Vintage Memorabilia Forum incl. Game Used 13 02-13-2014 07:16 AM
Help with Japanese Baseball Bat ? smokelessjoe Net54baseball Sports (Primarily) Vintage Memorabilia Forum incl. Game Used 5 03-02-2013 02:17 PM
Anyone read Japanese? Archive Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions 14 05-03-2006 12:50 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:34 AM.


ebay GSB