30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Another Day, Another Goodbye

The first thing I did the past two days when I woke up was open up my laptop and head over to MLB.com to check the Mariners vs. Athletics scoresToday I paused though as soon as I got to the website, because I saw that Ichiro had announced his retirement.

The guys on morning sports talk radio didn't make a big deal of it, because he had already made the headlines last year.  In fact they compared it to a dog dying at the end of the movie only to reappear later, and die again.  While I can see where they were headed with that analogy, I was actually a little annoyed by that comparison.

Ichiro has been one of my favorite baseball players since the early 2000's,  Part of it has to do with his ability to slap a pitch in seemingly any direction he wanted.  But a bigger part of it is he's the greatest Japanese baseball player to play in the MLB and I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to follow his entire career.

In regards to collecting, I walked away from the hobby when Ichiro collectibles were at his peak during his rookie year.  However when I returned in 2008, I knew I wanted to grab at least a few of his cardsWithin a few years, he became one of the guys I PC.

I originally had a graded card post planned for today, but in honor of #51, I postponed it and decided to show off the heart of my Ichiro collection.  Hope you enjoy it...

1993 BBM #239

This card is the holy grail of my Ichiro collection.  It represents the only autograph of his in my collection and the most expensive single card I've ever purchased.  If I could only keep one card of his, there's not doubt in my mind that this would be it.

Here are the other two Japanese rookie cards I own:

1993 Tomy I.D. #102
1993 Teleca Japan Ichiro Phone Card #1

When it comes to Japanese baseball cards, I'm an avid fan... but not exactly knowledgeable.  That's why I put my faith that these are legit issues in the hands of PSA and BGS.

I know that some people don't consider his 2001 MLB cards his true rookie cards, but I still enjoy collecting them when they're affordable:

2001 Topps Gallery English #151
2001 Topps Gallery Japanese #151

2001 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects #BDP84
2001 Topps Limited Edition #726
2001 Keebler Stadium Giveaway #5

2001 Upper Deck All-Star Fan Fest #UD51
2001 Upper Deck #271

2001 UD Victory #564
2001 E-X #105
2001 UD Collectibles #SE2

2001 Fleer Futures #230

Okay... now for my three favorite Ichiro MLB rookie cards...

2001 eTopps #100

eTopps are like Japanese baseball cards.  I love to collect them, but aren't too familiar with their history.  This card reminds me of Topps Gold Label with it's dual image, crazy shine, and thicker card stock.

2001 Fleer Tradition #452

Fleer isn't dumb.  They know that there are a lot of collectors out there who appreciate the 1956 Topps card design.  I'm pretty sure that's what they were thinking when they designed this set.

2001 Topps Gallery #151 (Japanese)

Yes, I realized I already showed off this card at the start of this post.  But that's how much I love this card.  I have two copies.  The one at the beginning of this post and his English brother are part of my 2001 Topps Gallery set.  This one is part of my PSA 10 collection.

Next up are my Ichiro memorabilia cards...

2008 Allen and Ginter Framed Mini Relics #AGR-IS
2009 Allen and Ginter Framed Mini Relics #AGR-IS
2010 Allen and Ginter Framed Mini Relics #AGR-IS

I'm a big fan of framed relics... especially the Ginters.  I'm missing a few of the Ichiros, but I'll hunt them down one day.

Here's one more...

2009 Topps 206 Framed Relics #FR-8

Now for my non-framed relics...

2005 UD Origins Old Judge Materials #OJ-IS
2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom Ticket Stub Memorabilia #TSP-39
2011 Heritage Clubhouse Collection Relic #CCR-IS

2003 Upper Deck Leading Swatches #LS-IS
2004 UD Diamond Collection Dean's List Jerseys #DL-IS

Here are a few game-used base cards...

2002 Playoff Piece of the Game #POG-28
2002 Fleer Box Score Press Clippings 

2002 E-X Hit and Run Base Memorabilia #NNO

Last, but not least...

2012 Archives 1956 Relics #56R-I

Yup.  Another 1956 Topps knockoff.  But I'm not complaining.  I love this card.

I could honestly show off at least 100 other Ichiros, but I don't have time for that.  So I'll wrap things up with a few more cards containing fabric, yet don't claim to be game used:

2002 Fleer Focus Materialistic Away #9M
2003 Fleer Focus Materialistic Away (Action) #M-I
2003 Fleer Focus Materialistic Away (Portrait) #M-I

2011 Topps Throwback Manufactured Patch #TLMP-IS

Well that's a wrap.  This month has been filled with goodbyesFirst my momNow Ichiro.  In a few weeks, one of my friends will be going on maternity leave and moving to the Central Valley.  But I'll probably write about that another day.

This post is dedicated to #51Thanks for the memories and being one of the inspirations for my Japanese PC.  I'm sure I'll be blogging about you in a few years when you become the first Japanese player enshrined in Cooperstown.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. Awesome Ichiro collection, he is a class act. Can’t wait for his HoF induction.

  2. those are excellent cards.i was able to watch ichiro in detroit in 04. the tigers were so terrible we were able to move to the box seats and get to see how great a player he was.

  3. sweet cards Fuji! I only watched Ichiro a few times, on the visiting team. He is one of the games best hitters - ever.

  4. Great collection, love the eTopps.

  5. He'll be missed. I saw his 3,000th hit and I'll never forget it.

  6. One heck of an Ichiro collection. It is just awesome, especially those 1993 cards.

  7. I thought about showing the Ichiro cards I have, but then I realized I had traded away some great ones and I probably shouldn't be the one showing off his cards. Better left in the hands of his biggest fans.

  8. Quite a collection. I guess I've been out of the loop because I didn't know he was retiring until this morning when I saw the clips on YouTube. I still think it was unfortunate that he didn't get to play the whole year last year for a farewell tour. I got to see him play once when he was with the Yankees and they came to Detroit (we were going to Canada and made a special stop so the boys can see their first baseball game).

    I too was a big fan and rooted for him to be the first unanimous HOF selection. Still rooting for the unanimous selection.

  9. So long, Ichiro. Next stop, the Hall of Fame. (And though all Ichiro cards are fantastic, that Keebler RC is especially fantastic!)

  10. Amazing collection! He had an amazing run and he was so fun to watch. I saw him play in 2003 and consider it an honor. Can’t wait to see his enshrined in 5 years!

  11. Fantastic stuff, Ichiro is the best player of his generation, and I look forward to his Hall of Fame speech!

  12. Nice collection. You might not feel the same, but so glad I got to see him as a Yankee for a few years.

  13. Legend is an understatement, a sure fire 1st ballot Hall of Famer! Just actually posted about my two prized Ichiro possessions in my collection today. Great stuff as always Fuji

  14. arpsmith - thanks. me too. might be the only japanese player to get enshrined for quite some time

    kirk - that's really cool. can't remember the first time i saw him play, but it was probably around that time.

    mark hoyle - thank you mr. hoyle!

    julie owens - totally agree. i loved how he seemed to be able to slap the ball wherever he wanted.

    sg488 - me too. i've been sort of on an etopps kick as of late. just grabbed the pujols to go along with this ichiro

    adam kaningher - crazy to think that he didn't come over until he was 27 and he still managed to get 3k hits in the mlb

    john miller - thanks. yeah... his bbm is by far my favorite. reminds me of 1990 pro set

    night owl - although i enjoy doing a sayonara salute to some of the games bigger players, i sometimes miss the boat due to time constraints or lack of motivation. that wasn't going to happen for me when it came to ichiro. he's one of my bigger pc guys.

    jafronius - i'd love to him go into cooperstown on an unanimous vote. he wasn't just a great hitter, he could field too. plus he was an ambassador to the game.

    nick - yeah... i really want to pick up a psa 10 copy of that card eventually

    sumomenkoman - yeah... that string of ten consecutive 200 hit seasons is insane.

    brian - i agree. 1st ballot hall of famer in my book

    the lost collector - lol. it hurt to see him get traded to the yankees. but i still collect him ;)

  15. Impressive collection of a more than impressive player. I could watch his highlight reels for hours.

  16. Nice selection of Ichiro cards. You're absolutely right, Ichiro's a one of a kind player. 1st ballot Hall of Famer for sure.

  17. gregory - on more than one occasion, i've scoured youtube for his highlight reels

    henry blanchette - yeah, not doubt in my mind he'll be a 1st ballot guy.