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

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Check-ing Off Some More Calbee

So many Calbees, so little money and time.

If you've forgotten, I'm working on Calbee's 1973, 2000, 2004, 2005, and 2016 sets. I've neglected some of them for a while, but now that I've refocused my efforts on knocking them down I've made some nice progress!

That includes this 2016 Calbee checklist:
 I don't believe current checklists are limited, but some sellers charge premiums as if they are more rare than regular cards. So my want lists are full of stars, Star Cards, and ... checklists. Nineteen cards left to get for this set!

However, I think the checklists were limited in the past. These Ichiro checklists from 2000 usually cost a small fortune each. I only paid an arm and a leg.
But that means this part of the 2000 set is complete! All that's left are some ON (Oh and Nagashima) and Titleholder inserts, and the complete second series.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

2018 BBM 1st Version Team Checklists

If I'm keeping track properly, this is the third year in the row that BBM has used spring training photos for their 1st Version team checklists. I'm not complaining - they're very recent images and often have some unique behind-the-scenes views or at least use photography rarely seen in a BBM set.

As has been customary for me since 2016, I grabbed the full subset at the recent card show.
 Hawks: carrying big, heavy packages. Actually, I bet they're doing some form of strength training exercise.

(Side Note: I just learned that those long, held stretches everyone does might not be so good for sports like baseball; warming up the muscles through movement is better.)
 Lions: infield practice. The hats are the best part of this image, since the yellow grass, plain wall, and drab infield dirt has very little contrast with the players' pullovers. I do think the guy on the left didn't have faith in the fielding ability of the player on the right.

(Side Note: I could probably figure out who some of these players are, but it's not important to me. If you're interested, have at it!)
 Golden Eagles: having cake and eating it too. This is at some kind of event, which could be as simple as a post-game press conference. But bonus points for being the first baseball card I can remember owning with cake on it.

(Side Note: how about a collection of baseball cards with food on them - like, players eating, pie-in-the-face, and so on?)
 Buffaloes: sushi rolls. When I first glanced at this photo, I thought those were microphones, which instantly made me think they were doing some kind of karaoke thing or something. But, no, those are big sushi rolls. But this makes two cards with food on them in this subset alone!

(Side Note: I like sushi, but I'm really not much of a fan of sushi rolls.)
 Fighters: bullpen. Again, my first glance impressions were a bit off. Originally, I just thought this was a lazy shot of multiple players in the bullpen. But either by chance or design, the players create their own sequence of timing from right to left, set to throw. Sadly, you can't tell if this photo was taken in the US or Japan.

(Side Note: How cool would it be to have nine or even twelve pitchers in a row like this, all one little step further through their delivery motions?)
 Marines: flags. Okay, minus 10 points for Gryffindor. The line of flags is interesting, sort of, but I guess there weren't any better images from spring training?

(Side Note: My computer doesn't know how to spell check Gryffindor, but Siri can handle it without any problems.)
 Carp: a shoe. A little quick check confirms that's Seiya Suzuki, outfielder. Again, that's a pretty great photo, but was there nothing better for the Carp?

(Side Note: Suzuki has a career batting average over .300, though is only at .250 after his first nine games this season.)
 Tigers: check the bat. Did you notice the batting tee that almost blends in with Nakatani's leg? How about the water bottle? I think they might be talking more about Nakatani's footwork than the bat.

(Side Note: I never wore my baseball pants low. I always showed off my stirrups.)
 BayStars: batting practice. This isn't a completely unique angle but it appears to be from just outside the home plate circle. Nicer weather would make this better, as everything does look kind of drab, but otherwise this is a great shot.

(Side Note: When attending a game in Japan, you generally can't keep batting practice balls hit into the stands. Game balls are different, but don't plan on going to pre-game gates for a ball.)
 Giants: on the field. While I don't know exactly what's happening, it's a good wide shot that includes the stadium. My guess is they're doing standard running warm-ups in the outfield.

(Side Note: Yomiuri owns a newspaper, a baseball team, and an amusement park. Yomiuriland is located right next to the Giants practice field, which also serves as their ni-gun (minor league) home. You can get a nice view of the park by taking the cable car to or from Yomiuriland. Also, the stands were basically open when there was nothing going on last year, so I could get into the stadium and take some photos. I don't know if that's an "always" thing or I just lucked out. I'll eventually post those photos... I hope.)
 Dragons: stretching. Again, not so much actually happening here, but it's a different image from what you tend to find on cards. I see three players with socks showing.

(Side Note: I've discovered a lot of Dragons fans lately, despite currently working in Kanagawa Prefecture, home of the Yokohama BayStars. The connection with the Dragons is usually because they are from Nagoya, or their family is.)
Swallows: follow through. This would be a great Calbee image. But it's BBM. Go figure.

(Side Note: The Swallows might actually be more popular in Tokyo than the Giants. Overall, the Giants are probably the most popular when taking into account more casual fans, for reasons similar to the Yankees. But for actual baseball fans in the Tokyo area, I hear Swallows more than Giants.)

Overall, there are some good shots here, and I'm happy with the subset. I do hope BBM steps up their game just a little next year.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Night Owl and I are Both Collecting 1973

I think my cards look better than his cards.

Night Owl picked up a bunch of 1973s from a card show last weekend, as did I. But while his cards may be more popular than mine, I would argue that my cards are more attractive.

The 1973 Calbee "Crossed Bats" set is probably the first Calbee set ever released. A parallel set with different backs would be issued from 1973 to 1974, but based on the Homerun Card expiration dates, I believe the Crossed Bats set came first.

It's a gorgeous set, too. Despite being issued in 1973, the images are bright and sharp. There are winners and losers in the image department, but when people talk about the beauty of Calbee, they're referring to this set.

I started with just a few cards, but a couple weeks ago I wiped out a large portion of the set. And at last weekend's card show, a couple more dents were added: 
 Cards #1-6 are all of Shigeo Nagashima, and while this isn't the iconic #1, it is semi-iconic #2. I believe card #1 can be had for less than 5000 yen in lower condition.
 Cards #7-12 are all Sadaharu Oh, and that makes this Oh's first Calbee card! So Oh is no more.
 Another Giants player, Isao Shibata, is card #20. He's a semi-star, but it's nice to take him off the list.
 And the last 1973 I picked up is #43, Kazumi Takahashi, a common player who also has #44.

That leaves me needing:

  • 1: Shigeo Nagashima, the key card in the set
  • 31: Katsuya Sugawara, a common card
  • 51: Tabuchi/Enatsu, a highly valuable card for some reason
  • 52: Kenichi Yazawa, a semi-star
  • 57: Masaji Hiramatsu, a semi-star
  • 64-91
I wasn't really sure of the existence of #64-91 until recently, when I studied past Yahoo Japan Auctions listings. I don't even see any current Crossed Bats cards from these numbers actively listed, but nothing indicates that they are short-printed, so I might have just been unlucky thus far. Card #75 (Katsuya Nomura) will probably be the only really expensive card in the remaining lot. I have 58 of 91 cards, or almost 2/3 of the set now! Will I finish is this year? I doubt it, but who knows what I'll find at card shops over the rest of the year.

There is one more card to add to my collection in this post:

This is my second 1979 Home Run Card in my collection. The back shows details for redemption: Two cards and 300 yen will get you an autographed ball (I'm pretty sure it's a facsimile signature), while one home run card gives you a choice of a card album or a signed mascot bat. Again, I'm guessing it's a facsimile signature... but anyone could probably sign for a mascot. The last line indicates that you should request a signature but there are no choices given, so could you choose any player from the Calbee set? Oddly enough, they didn't include an expiration date on the card, so I wonder if they'd still honor a redemption today.

Until next time...