(Hey, kids, we've arrived at my least favorite day of the whole year! Daylight Savings Time kicks in, we lose an hour, during one of the busiest sports weekends of the year! Where is the petition for me to sign? It's time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 252nd in a series):
I couldn't tell you off the top of my head how many rookie cards Hideo Nomo owns from U.S.-made card brands. Fourteen? Fifteen? Twenty?
It's pretty ridiculous to me that a player would have a double-digit number of rookie cards. I grew up during the time when a player was given one rookie card and that was it.
But beyond Nomo's U.S. rookie cards, he has even more rookie cards than that!
Nomo pitched professionally in Japan for five years, from 1990-94 in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. And there are cards issued of him from that time period.
In general, Nomo's Japanese rookie cards are considered to be 1991 BBM and Calbee cards. The card above is Nomo's 1991 BBM base card. True to the 1990s, it's just one of the Nomo cards in the '91 BBM set. He has six other cards in the league leaders subset. Because of course.
He also owns a card in the 1990 Takara set, which I believe is a team set. (Most of my information for this write-up came from this post from the authoritative Japanese Baseball Cards blog). So, depending on how you define your rookie cards, the '90 Takara card could be Nomo's Japanese rookie card, or his pre-rookie card, or you could discount the whole thing and go with his almost two-dozen U.S. rookie cards.
Nomo defines rookie card abundance and confusion perhaps better than any baseball player.
But anyway, I received this card from Billy of the long-ago West Virginia Cards blog and much-more current Twitter site (P.S.: he recently pulled a Mike Trout autographed card out of 2017 Heritage). I don't consider this a Dodger card and it won't go in my Dodger binders, but it's a must-have for someone who enjoys Hideo Nomo cards so much.
It features Nomo in his very familiar exaggerated pitching motion but in a Kintetsu Buffaloes uniform. Here is the card back:
I need Zippy Zappy in here to translate.
The card itself is happy enough, probably not as well-made as his U.S. rookie cards. It's also smaller, both by width and height, than an average U.S. baseball card from the '90s.
BBM cards are still going strong, but the 1991 set was its first one. It's considered the first Japanese set to model itself after U.S. baseball cards. So the design is very familiar even in the U.S. and often replicated. It's pretty cool that Nomo's rookie card is in BBM's "rookie set."
That is if you consider it Nomo's rookie card.
He has so many.