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2007 Daisuke Matsuzaka Rookie Card Checklist

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Ordinary rookies don't enter Major League Baseball with the pressure of a nine-digit contract or a body of mythology surrounding one of their pitches. But as collectors found out in 2007, there's nothing ordinary about Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

A six-time All-Star and former MVP in Japan, Matsuzaka first appeared on the radar of many U.S. fans when he played a starring role in Japan's victory in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. In November of 2006, the Seibu Lions (Matsuzaka's Japanese team) gave him permission to offer his services to MLB teams, which required them to bid for the right to negotiate with him.

Amidst a frenzy of media speculation, the Red Sox easily outdistanced other interesting teams by offering $51,111,111.11. Matsuzaka later signed a six-year contract worth over $50 million, meaning Boston had invested over $100 million in him before he ever threw a pitch in an official game.

When the man dubbed Dice-K did make his debut, he did it in impressive fashion, striking out 10 in a 4-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals. His 15-12 record and 4.40 ERA for the season may have been a little disappointing, but he did strike out 201 batters in just over 204 innings.

It's up for debate whether he fanned any of those hitters with the help of the gyroball, the rumored breaking pitch he perfected in Japan. Some observers don't think the pitch exists, while others claim it is merely misidentified.

In any case, Matsuzaka follows in a line of popular Japanese players like Hideo Nomo and Ichiro. Dice-K rookie cards were the hottest in the hobby in early 2007, and if he plays any role in pitching the Red Sox to another championship, he could easily have a hobby profile as high as any of his countrymen. Matsuzaka signed an exclusive contract with Upper Deck during the 2007 season, ensuring his autographs would be found only in that company's products.

Daisuke Matsuzaka 2007 Rookie Cards

  • Artifacts # 77
  • Bowman # 210
  • SPx # 128
  • Topps # 630
  • Topps Allen and Ginter # 210
  • Topps Chrome # 330
  • Topps Co-Signers # 94
  • Topps Moments and Milestones # 170 - #'d to 150
  • Topps Moments and Milestones # 171 - #'d to 150
  • Topps Moments and Milestones # 171 - #'d to 150
  • Topps Triple Threads # 59 - #'d to 1350
  • Ultra # 239
  • Upper Deck # 501
  • Upper Deck Elements # 131 - #'d to 550
  • Upper Deck Premier # 243 - #'d to 199

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