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

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Starting From Start to Start: Trade With NPB Card Guy Part 1

The guy who is my Stateside connection to Japanese baseball (NPB Card Guy) is one of the nicest guys I've met. He and I trade occasionally, and one of those trades just finished changing hands. There aren't many surprises in our packages, really - international shipping ain't cheap, you know. But I have a bad memory so even if he did mention everything headed my way it's like Christmas when I open my mail.

It'll take me a few posts to get through everything he sent this time, and we're already talking about the next go-round. How am I ever going to keep things straight?

When I opened the envelope, I saw a bunch of well-secured single cards, plus a large top-loader with a couple things inside. My first thought was that he had found an American card for my collection and tossed it in there.
 With the card was this flyer/postcard advertising a movie called Diamond Diplomacy. Here are the details, as presented by the back of the card.
 I haven't heard much about this project since the initial buzz and later Kickstarter project, but it's only been a few months. Hopefully the film will be released this summer!
So, to start this trade post series, here is the card I thought was a US card. Obviously, it's in the style of the old Turkey Red cabinets, and at first glance, just seeing the top-right corner, I thought it might have been a reprint or one of the Topps cabinets from a few years ago. But seeing the card I remembered that Rob Fitts ran a campaign to help fund Masanori Murakami's trip to the US, and this card in autographed form was one of the "rewards" for funding. The unsigned cards were given out during book-signing events, I believe. I wish I had been able to participate in that crowd-funding event; thankfully NPB Card Guy had an extra one of these sitting around! (I have to wonder what his card collection storage area looks like with all these great things he seems to have just sitting around...)

This card is a good starting point because Murakami was the first Japanese player in Major League Baseball. It's too large to fit in my "Japanese MLB Players Collection" but that's perfectly fine since it's more likely to end up displayed in some way instead!
So while we're at it, I'll include a second card - the first Japanese player to effectively transition from NPB to MLB baseball (Murakami was forced to return to Japan after one year in the Majors). I recently went on a Nomo spree trying to finish my 1993 BBM set, but was still missing a card for the aforementioned Japanese players collection. NPB Card Guy just happened to have an NPB-era Nomo sitting around, and now it has a nice new home!

And speaking of my collection of Japanese players in the MLB, I am now down to needing only one NPB card: Toru Murata, who appeared in 2008's Rookie Edition and First Version sets, and the 2008-2010 BBM Giants team sets. I haven't been hunting too hard yet, but his cards have remained elusive.

And on the MLB side, I still need Murata, Ryota Igarashi, and Kensuke Tanaka, all of whom have only Minor League singles, as well as Norihiro Nakamura.

One of my goals this year is to hunt down those remaining five cards. Can I do it? Only time will tell.

Thanks, NPB Card Guy, for these two awesome cards, and the rest which are coming up!


  1. Thanks for the kind words. I do like to include a couple surprises when I can. There was a Kickstarter campaign a few months back to fund the "Diamond Diplomacy" film and the premium for my donation included those two cards. Since I had gotten copies of both of them the year before, I thought you might like them. Apparently I was right!

    My "card collection storage area" is a complete mess - someday I'll actually organize things.

    If you wait a month you can probably get a Murata card from BBM's 1st Version set since he signed with the Fighters over the winter.

    1. You were right. I was very happy to see those!

      And yeah, I saw that Murata signed. Hopefully he shows up in 1st Edition; if he doesn't he should at least be in the Fighters team set.

  2. Wow... seeing that Diamond Diplomacy postcard and that Murakami cabinet card brings back one of my favorite hobby experiences... meeting Murakami, Yuriko, and Fitts. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  3. That Murakami card is astounding! That's some top quality work by Ars Longa, one of my favorite producers of "art cards"

    1. Yeah, it's a great looking card. And art cards are my favorite kind of cards, which is why I collect Diamond Kings.

  4. Nice trade, I have traded with NPB Guy too and can also attest to what a great guy he is to deal with. Love that T3 style Murakami!