Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Still Plugging Away at the Monster
I haven't posted about it in a few months, but I'm still plugging away at my 1975-76-77 Calbee "Monster" set. By "plugging away" I mean adding to it at a rate of 1-2 cards per month. I'm a little over 400 short of completing the 1472 card set, so that puts me on a pace to finish it in about 2035 or so.
I added a couple worthy of note the other day though, the above cards of hall of famer Koji Yamamoto and Gail Hopkins. Both cards are from the rare regional series ("Defending the Lead") which was only released in Hiroshima and feature images from Hiroshima Carp games during the 1975 season. Both of these (cards 167 and 176) were from the same game, played August 26, 1975 against the Yakult Swallows in Okayama Stadium which the Carp won 3-2. Yamamoto's card shows him after hitting a home run in the 7th inning to give the Carp the lead, while Hopkins' card back describes him making a fine defensive play that allowed the Carp to keep the lead.
The cards are in near mint condition which is pretty rare for this set and this series. They had been available from a seller on Yahoo Auctions for months but with a price tag of 2,000 Yen each which was just a bit too high for me to pull the trigger so they had been on my watch list for a while. Then last week the seller knocked 50% off the price of each and I decided to jump on them! This leaves me just 4 cards short of completing that rare series, which means I am almost done with one of the biggest challenges of completing the set (though the other Hiroshima only series is harder to complete and I'm still a long way from finishing that one).
Gail Hopkins is kind of an interesting person. He played in the majors for a few teams in the 60s and early 70s, then finished his career in Japan with the Carp and Nankai Hawks. He was a key player on the Carp team in 1975, hitting 33 home runs and being named an All Star. After retiring from baseball he went to medical school and went on to have a very successful career as an orthopedic surgeon, a path very few big leaguers have followed.