Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

Want Lists are located here. NPB Baseball Want List is located here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

2000 Epoch Pro-Baseball Sticker Album

I recently found a new-in-package sticker album from Epoch's attempt to release an active-player baseball set in 2000. As far as I know, this is the only modern attempt at a sticker album set in Japan similar to Panini's baseball stickers in the past and modern-day Topps stickers.
 The album came in a plastic poly bag for hanging on pegs in stores. A couple stickers are tucked inside the album.
 PR stickers at the beginning are found in the album beneath the table of contents.
 Each team has four pages. Due to the way the album is arranged, only two of those pages face each other, with the other two being split.
 For each team, the first page is for four player stickers plus one of the insert set stickers. The center two pages hold an additional 13 player stickers. The last page for each team is designed to display the nine-card puzzle set for that team.
 You can see one of my PR stickers in the image above. After the 12 sets of team pages, there are a series of "subset" pages.
 "The Leading Players" is actually an additional limited insert set, with two stickers per team. Each team, therefore, has an additional page toward the back of the book.
 There are two pages with lots of text toward the back; these focus on each of the two leagues and there's a "dream team" pair of pages sandwiched between them. I forgot to take a picture of the Dream Team pages.
The inside back cover has a complete checklist for the release, including all the inserts.

I'd love to have a full set of these stickers, but they seem to be pretty tough to come by. Busting a box or two would be fun and certainly get me close to a set if not giving me a complete set (that might happen soon). There are 204 player stickers, 108 puzzle stickers, 24 Leading Players stickers, and 12 Star Players stickers.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: 2015 BBM Carp Legends

BBM has been issuing team sets under the "Legends" name since 2013. Hiroshima is the most recent team to receive the treatment.
 The base set has 81 cards; #1-72 are "Legends" with a red background. These players were members of championship teams. The design itself is the same as the other Legends series sets, with a cloudy background. Career stats and the usual details are on the back. Photography is generally pretty good.
All-Time Legends rounds out the set (#73-81). Players in this subset were not a part of championship teams, but still stand out as great players on the team. Current ace pitcher Kenta Maeda is a part of this subset.
 There's a gold signature partial parallel numbered to 60 copies.
The lone insert is a nine card set titled "80's Best Nine" featuring nine of the best players on the Carp in the 1980s. I guess that goes without saying. There is a parallel of this insert with red foil over the "80's Best Nine" text serial-numbered to 60 copies.
There are 49 subjects in the autograph set, most of whom have 100 (or nearly that many) cards in the set. A few players have less. Additionally there are three dual-autograph cards, each with 10 copies.

The Legends series is nice in its simplicity, and the player selection focuses on certain eras usually during dynasties. This has the opportunity to provide a bit of a different player selection from the usual anniversary sets. There are still plenty of retired players which have no modern cardboard and are in the record books for winning awards or other accomplishments. But like most of BBM's team sets, there isn't really anything special here for collectors who aren't fans of the respective teams.

I like the red and green colors used in the base set; other sets have used more muted tones in blues or grays. I've missed posting about at least one set - the Giants - from this series.

You can see more scans and read a bit more about the set at Japanese Baseball Cards, which NPB Card Guy wrote about a couple months ago... somehow this set slipped through the cracks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: 2015 Yomiuri Giants Game Used Bat Edition

Frontier's first offering of 2015 is another super-limited box set that focuses on the hits. This time, it's bats.
 The base set has only 14 cards, with two different designs. The first half of the set uses an orange running track-shaped border around the photo with all the text at the bottom. The shape is carried over to the back; note that all 14 cards have the same back design.
The second half of the set uses a white, black and orange abstract background, and Frontier calls this a subset. Also of note on the card backs is a picture of the player's bat that was used for the relic cards.

You should not be surprised that bat relics are the big draw here, and there are several. Here is a promotional image showing premium cards in the set:
Two special cards come in addition to the 14 regular cards in the set. Each premium set has a seven-card checklist. They break down as follows:

  • foil signature card (parallel of "subset" from base set)
    • silver: 4-48 copies per
    • gold: 2-24 copies per
    • red: 40-50 copies per
  • bat relic cards
    • Level 1 (horizontal, fire cloud design): regular bat relics
      • G: 60 or 120 copies per
      • GIANTS: 3 or 5 copies per
      • square window: 3-10 copies per
    • Level 2 (vertical, base subset card design)
      • circle: 24 or 28 copies per
      • bat knob: 1 copy per
    • Level 3 (horizontal, fire volcano design): bat barrel version
      • most players have two cards, while one has three
Based on the print runs, I come up with a total of 1339 sets, which is pretty low. Full sets with two "hits" had an original retail price of 10,800 yen.