Sunday, June 18, 2017

Japanese BBM Baseball/Sumo Wrestling Crossover Cards

In Japan, sumo wrestling and baseball have been interlocked in a decades-long battle for popularity supremacy.  In the 1930s, sumo reigned king...after World War 2 it was baseball that carried the torch.  In the mid 1950s, sumo took hold until the 1960s where Oh and Nagashima took baseball to new heights.  In the 1970s, strong wresters like Kitanoumi, Takanohana, and Takamiyama popularized the sport overseas.  In the 1980s, Chiyonofuji was the man in sumo and seemed almost invincible...as well as sumo ratings.  In the 1990s, Nomo-fever brought about Japanese baseball to new fans overseas and was carried by Ichiro and Matsui.  BBM started making baseball sets first in the early 1990s followed 5 years later with sumo and is indicative of baseball's popularity strength.  The early 2000s were kind to sumo, but it's popularity died off until just a few years ago.  This battle will surely be an interesting one going forward.  Occasionally, there are cards that depict these two sports intertwined as is with the 2006 and 2008 Japanese BBM Baseball Ceremonial First Pitch Cards.  These four card feature sumo wrestlers throwing out the first pitch in April games during those season and thus were included in the 2nd series of the sets.  In 2006, Hakuho and Kyokushuzan had the honors...in 2008, Kotomitsuki graced card # 768 and newly minted Yokozuna Hakuho had a second go at this honor.  These are the only 4 cards I know that BBM has crossed over between these two sports.  I am hoping there will be more in the future.



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