Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Yu Darvish's True Rookie Cards

Darvish may have MLB rookie cards in 2012, but you can't ignore his start in Japan. He was drafted in 2004, and as such started appearing in card sets in early 2005.

His first card, chronologically, is in the 2005 BBM Rookie Edition set (#12). I think it's safe to say that 99.99% of current rookies get their first card in this annual issue. After that, he appeared as part of a multi-player card featuring the team's draft picks in the "Challengers" box set (#30). And he was included in BBM's 1st and 2nd Version sets (their flagship release) on card #116, with silver and gold signature parallels, and #760.

Other rookie-year sets include two cards in the premium Touch The Game set (#25 and #147), with his first relic card - a game-used ball card with a logo parallel, and a photo card. He also has three Konami game cards.

There's one more rookie-year set that Darvish appears in; he has two cards in the annual Fighters team set. Card #F03 is on the left, below, and subset card #F72 is on the right. The team set, issued in packs, also includes Darvish's first autographed card, a parallel of the base set limited to only 10 copies.
His rookie cards are definitely the key cards in every set above, and while they aren't as expensive as one might pay for Pujols or Ichiro RCs in the US, they usually don't come cheap. But thanks to a poorly-listed auction on Yahoo Japan Auctions, I got both of the above cards and many more singles from Japanese players in the MLB for under $2 shipped. In fact, I didn't realize I was getting Darvish's rookie card until tonight, when I went through and pulled out the singles I needed from the lot.

Even without the RC, I certainly got my money's worth, as several cards went to a small collection I'm working on, and a few others went to my type collection - including that Newcomer parallel above.


  1. I know I'm being extremely nit-picky here, but I disagree with the labeling of card #760 from the 2005 BBM 2nd Version set as a Darvish card. It's a card from the Interleague Games Highlights subset that shows Darvish but doesn't explicitly name him or have any biographical information on it. It would be kind of like labeling the 1980 Topps Yankees team card as a Thurman Munson card because Munson's in the picture. (OK, I'll concede that Darvish is the only player shown on card #760 while Munson is one of 25 on the Yankees card...)

    Neither Engel or SCM label it as a Darvish card.

  2. Congratulations. The 2005 BBM Rookie Edition Darvish is definitely on my wantlist.

  3. NPB Card Guy: Yeah, I'm on the fence when it comes to cards like that. Even the draft picks card in the Challengers box set wouldn't really count unless you're a completist. When it comes to a few players (Charlie Hough, for example) I collect, they count, but otherwise I don't care.

    Fuji: Thanks! If I find one at a steal I'll grab it for you.

    Kenny: Thanks!