30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hidden Treasures #8: 2006 Calbee Yu Darvish

The Texas Rangers might have lost the 2011 World Series, but they won the rights to sign Yu Darvish, the 25 year old ace from Japan.

Last year, Darvish was 18-6, with a 1.44 ERA in 28 games for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He led the Japan Pacific League in K's (276) and shutouts (6), plus he had the lowest WHIP (0.828) among starting pitchers.

2009 Bowman & Bowman Chrome WBC Prospects

He's had five consecutive seasons with an sub 2.00 ERA... is a 5x all-star... and has won two Pacific League MVP awards, two ERA titles, two Golden Glove awards, and three strikeout titles.

In 2009, he pitched the final out of the World Baseball Classic to help Japan secure the gold. It was back then, when I first came across his name, but of course he was already a super star in Japan.

I remember reading about how he would likely be the next big name to come out of Japan, so I decided to go out and pick up one of his Japanese baseball cards. The card at the top of this post is my 2006 Calbee.

Calbee is major snack producer from Japan, who started including baseball cards with their snacks back in 1973. From what I can tell... they still attach single card packs to the back side of specially marked packages... however, I'm not 100% sure. Here's a blogger who busted a box of 2011 Calbee (Series 2): Japanese Baseball Cards

According to this blogger, Darvish's rookie card is from the 2005 BBM 1st Version set. However 2006 was the first year that Calbee produced a card for him.

It should be interesting to see if the Rangers can sign him to a contract and whether or not he'll be successful in the MLB. What do you think?

What sort of success do you think Yu Darvish will have in the MLB?

Hall of Fame, like Ichiro (sorry, no Japanese pitchers have had HOF careers)? 1x All-Star, like Nomo? Average Joe, like Matsuzaka? Epic Fail, like Kei Igawa?

Can't wait to read your thoughts. Here's MLB.Com's take on the guy:

According to them... he's not quite Stephen Strasburg... but better than Matt Moore.

Happy Tuesday everyone. Sayonara!


  1. I think he'll be average, maybe a year or two slightly above. I'm already sort of tired of the "Yu" headlines...they get old pretty fast, don't yu agree?

  2. I find the "not quite Stephen Strasburg" bit amusing. Even Stephen Strasburg is no longer quite Stephen Strasburg. I think one of the biggest things Darvish has going for him is that he doesn't have one of those odd, quirky deliveries like so many other Japanese pitchers. Dice-K had a big adjustment to make to his mechanics just not to be called for a balk on every pitch.

    Darvish doesn't have that and is already a much better pitcher than Matsuzaka ever was. Even so, most people conveniently forget that Dice_K had a great second season with the Red Sox. When he wasn't hurt or ignoring coaches concerns, that's the type of pitcher he is.

    I just don't see Darvish falling into the hermit-type public persona that Matsuzaka employed.

  3. the lost collector - lol... awesome. actually, i've been waiting for his arrival and hope that the rangers can sign him.

    jason - definitely true about strasburg... i hope for a lot of collectors sake, he comes back strong. thanks for the great feedback on darvish... very helpful information.