30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Paving the Way for Ohtani

Last week I was sort of on a 90's bender... and it'll continue at least through this post.

Back in the summer of 1995, Hideo Nomo was taking the MLB and our hobby by storm.  From June 2nd to August 5th, he went 9-1 with a 1.23 ERA and 112 strikeouts.  During that span of twelve games he pitched a one-hitter and three two-hitters.  By the end of the season, Nomo had done enough to narrowly beat out Chipper Jones and walked away with the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

He ended up having a very respectable twelve season career in the MLB that included two no-hitters and two strikeout titles.  However these days, his cards are worth only a fraction of what collectors paid back in the day.  If you factor in sentimental value though, he's still a superstar in my book.

He's right alongside Kurt Suzuki and Ichiro Suzuki as one of my largest Japanese player collections.  A lot of that has to do with him being a product of the late 90's and early 2000's when card companies were cranking out tons of inserts, parallels, and memorabilia cards.

Masanori Murakami might have been the first Japanese baseball player to play at the Major League level, but it's important to remember that Nomo was the second.  He also deserves some credit for paving the way for guys like Ichiro and Ohtani.

Today I'll be showing off the latest additions to my Hideo Nomo PC courtesy of fellow blogger, Dennis who is the author of Too Many Verlanders and Too Many Manninghams.  He sent me a nice variety of cool inserts and rookie cards.

Let's kick things off with a card I would have died to pull back in the day...

1995 SP Silver #14

In the mid 90's, SP was one of the top brands to collect and Nomo's 1995 SP rookie card was very popular at the time.  This is the silver parallel, which were seeded at one per pack.

1995 SP Championship Series #1

Upper Deck SP had become so popular among collectors, the company decided to create a retail only counterpart in 1995 called SP Championship.  Nomo's rookie card filled the #1 slot and pretty much carries this set.

1995 Select Certified Certified Future #3

One of my favorite brands in 1995 was Select Certified.  This is one of the inserts collectors pulled from this product, which highlighted young players around the league.  Nomo, along with Alex Rodriguez and Chipper Jones highlight the checklist.

1996 Fleer Ultra Season Crowns #7
1998 Aurora On Deck Laser Cuts #9

When I think of 90's inserts, two of the first things that pop into my head are "acetate" and "die-cut".  Both allow collectors the ability to see-through the card...

I placed blue construction paper behind each card and rescanned them so you can see where light normally shines through.

1998 Pinnacle Plus All-Star Epix Orange/Emerald #E24

In 1997, Pinnacle introduced their Epix inserts to football, hockey, and racing collectors.  The following year, baseball card collectors had the opportunity to collect the shiny multi-tiered inserts.

Dennis sent me two-thirds of the Nomo 1998 All-Star Epix rainbow.  I just need the purple complete it.

1998 Pinnacle Museum Collection #PP41

When Topps won over collector's hearts with their refractors in the 1993, Pinnacle responded with Dufex technology.  Normally, I'm a refractor kind of guy, but there's no denying how beautiful this Pinnacle Museum Collection parallel looks. 

1998 Score First Pitch #14

Here's another example of Pinnacle's Dufex technology.  This time it's being featured on an insert card instead of a parallel.  These First Pitch inserts were found exclusively in the All-Star Edition packs.

1996 Stadium Club Mega Heroes #MH3

Rounding out the stack of Nomos was this 1996 Stadium Club insert that has a super hero theme.  Nomo's windup earned him the nickname "Tornado", which also happens to be his comic book spirit on this card.

The final three cards that Dennis sent were three Christian McCaffreys for my Stanford PC:

McCaffrey is the latest big offensive name to come out of Stanford University and based on some of the fantasy football rankings I've seen... 2018 will be his breakout season.  I haven't bothered chasing down his cards, because I'm still recovering from getting burnt by Toby Gerhart.  But these three cards will make a nice foundation.

Thank you Dennis for these wonderful Nomos and McCaffreys!  My COMC order has arrived and there were a few cards in there for you.  Stay tuned.  You'll be receiving a care package from me within the next few weeks.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!


  1. Your cardboard history take on those cards is awesome! Thanks for grabbing some stuff for me on COMC, I'm looking forward to it, Fuji.

  2. I was fortunate to watch Nomo pitch once in Montreal. Loved his windups

  3. Mashi and Nomo laid the foundation, Hiroki Kuroda paved and mended the way after Igawa and Dice-K ruined the perception of Japanese pitchers by being the greatest Japanese pitcher to play in the MLB ever.

  4. Nice nomos! I just received a new to my collection nomo myself from Julie.

  5. These cards could only have come from the '90s.

  6. I was out of card collecting while Nomo was heating things up. I’d like to think I would have had a nice PC of him had I been around at that time. Cool care package!!

  7. Dennis always sends great stuff. I had a few Nomo cards but not these. 90s inserts are awesome.

    I'm following McCaffrey as well. Haven't picked up too many of his cards though. 2017 Panini sets ddin't really appeal to me. Maybe 2018 will be a breakout year for McCaffrey and Panini?

  8. Dennis - Thank you for allowing me to take that trip back in time. Great era for collecting.

    Sport Card Collectors - Although I don't remember any specific games, I'm pretty confident I watched him play at Candlestick at least once. Definitely saw him and his windup numerous time on TV. It's a work of art.

    Zippy Zappy - I can live with that breakdown.

    gcrl - Can't wait to see it on your blog.

    Nick - It was such a great era for baseball cards.

    SumoMenkoMan - I'll make sure to add some Nomos to your care package.

    Chris - I'm looking forward to seeing what Christian can do this season.