Wednesday, January 25, 2017

EPOCH Shigeru Sugishita Shadowbox

One of the cards I really found interesting were these Shadowbox cards from EPOCH. Ryan over at This Card Is Cool, has also briefly talked about these, but these are 3cm thick cards that feature a clear acetate front with a facsimile signature, accompanied by a picture of the player, with the background separated.

Apparently the color of the facsimile signature is what distinguishes what kind of card variation it is. Ryan picked up the silver version limited to 38 copies.

The one I picked up is the gold version that's limited to 10 copies. TEN!

I suppose Topps has made cards similar to this, but I think it'd be really cool if all card producing companies could continue down this, literal 3D, route in terms of cards. I love it.

Now for a history lesson on the legendary Shigeru Sugishita.

Mr. Sugishita was born back in 1925 (he's still alive and kicking at the age of 91 for the record). The right hander was known for his effective forkball, so much so that he was known as the "God of Forkballs." Apparently Mr. Sugishita's forkball was more akin to a modern day knuckleball that wobbles left and right before dropping precipitously. Mr. Sugishita had a great career but the peak year everyone talks about the most (even the shadowbox card commemorates it) is 1954, the year Mr. Sugishita won the pitching triple crown in Japan. That was also the same year the Dragons finally made it to the Nippon Series (the NPB equivalent of the World Series) and won it all. Mr. Sugishita took home Nippon Series MVP honors for his dominance in the postseason that year too.
Add in how Mr. Sugishita went 32-12 with 395.1 innings pitched that year and, yeah, his 1954 was pretty bonkers,

Mr. Sugishita is also remembered for the no-hitter he threw the following year in 1955. Being a total moron, I forgot to pick up a card that commemorated that historic achievement (that autograph was right there! GAH!). Mr. Sugishita retired for a bit in 1958, serving as a manager for the 1959 and 1960 seasons before going to the Daimai Orions (the current Chiba Lotte Marines) for his last season as an active pitcher. After that he worked as a manager for the Tigers and Dragons (for one season each) before retiring as a manager. He later went onto to work as a coach, even to this day he still works with Dragons pitchers trying to get them to work on their forkball. Gotta hand it to the guy, he's in his 90's and he's still showing up to spring training.

All told Mr. Sugishita had a mighty fine career. One good enough for him to get inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. Depending on who you ask, he just might be Mr. Chunichi. At the very least, he is a recognizable name if you're talking to Dragons fans who bothered to look up the team's history. I'm just glad I have a card of his numbered to 10 in my collection. The card itself was already cool, but the fact that it's of such an important player to the Dragons franchise makes it all the more cooler.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care.


  1. I haven't met a shadowbox card I didn't like. Great card.

  2. God of Forkballs is an awesome nickname.

  3. Even if they have done it, shadowbox is a gimmick that hasn't yet been overdone by Topps. This one is quite nice - I sure wouldn't mind adding one of these to my collection.

    Also, I hope I make it to 90, let alone can still act as a coach and make it to spring training every year!

    1. I agree, the guy's stamina and health are amazing.

  4. Very cool! A little deceptive that it's not a real signature, but still a nice looking card of an incredible player.

    1. Yeah it's a little deceptive, but when you look at the card in real life you can quickly tell it's a printed autograph fairly quickly.