Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Can Topps Tell Japanese Players Apart?

I've never claimed to be an expert at faces. I sometimes can't recognize my own friends in a crowd, if I haven't seen them in awhile. I've never been able to do that on a consistent basis. So, it seems odd that I'm catching this while looking through my cards.

I never really studied the 2007 Topps Co-Signers release with any in depth analysis to every card. I thought they looked nice and felt frustrated at the many parallels of matched up players. Maybe that's why this escaped me for so long. I was so used to seeing two different players on the 2007 Co-Signers cards, that it never really registered.

This 2007 card of Tadahito Iguchi has Shingo Takatsu on it. You can definitely tell that this is not the same player. The facial features are nothing alike. The only similarities are that both players are of Japanese descent and are wearing Chicago White Sox uniforms. One is batting and one is throwing. At least to the untrained eye.

Tadahito is batting, even though he left before the 2007 season. I understand that these sets are put together months in advance. I'm fine with that. There's Shingo Takatsu on the right throwing a baseball, or as they say in the majors, pitching.

Maybe Topps thought that was a picture of Tadahito turning a double play. OK, it seems like I'm stretching for an excuse, but I can see that. If you tilt your head to the left and squint, it kinda looks like Tadahito turning a double play. It's an honest mistake. Or so I thought, until I looked at the back of the card.Hmmm. That certainly looks like a pitcher. That certainly does look like Mr. Zero's delivery style. By golly, that is Shingo Takatsu! But wait... that's impossible. Shingo has been out of the White Sox organization since 2005. So what gives?

Can Topps tell Japanese players apart? I guess not, unless your name is Ichiro Suzuki. Just because a team has had two Japanese players in its recent history, does not make them the same player. It may have taken me over a year to notice, but Topps screwed up big time. Three photographs on the card (two different) and only one is of the player mentioned on the card. For shame!

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