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.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Winning An Unfair Fight: 2008 Stadium Club

I present to you: Clayton Kershaw. This card is arguably the key card in the 2008 Stadium Club set. Max Scherzer is giving him a run for his money, though.

And it's mine, now. With that purchase, I now have a full set of 2008 Stadium Club! To be honest, my set is a bit of a Frankenset.

2008 Stadium Club is a 184 card set, but cards 101-150 have photo variations, making a full set 234 cards. But Joe DiMaggio was removed, so a full set is 233 cards. #151-184 are rookie autographs, like Kershaw above. Every third card #1-150 (3, 6, 9, 12, etc) is numbered to 999 copies, as are the photo variations. Rookie autographs were only found in hobby packs. Confused, yet?

There are several parallels. For non-autographed cards, First Day Issue Hobby are numbered to 599 copies, while Retail versions aren't serial-numbered and found one per pack. There are also blue, gold, and platinum Photographer's Proof parallels for all cards #1-184, numbered to 99 or less. 

Finding all of the variations and stars in regular base form was actually much more difficult than picking up parallels here and there. I especially relied heavily on retail First Day Issue cards for the /999 base cards and photo variations. There are even a couple Photographer's Proofs in there!

I'm definitely glad to knock this set off the list! I still need to finish a few Topps throwback sets. Perhaps those are my next focus. What set has been nearly impossible for you to finish?

Until next time...

Friday, April 16, 2021

Go Big or Go Home

Calbee has been including prize redemption cards since their first baseball set back in 1973. Originally called homerun cards, and now called lucky cards, these could be exchanged for various gifts. They've offered card albums, baseballs, towels, books, and, yes, even cards.

From 1990-1993, you could get your hands on an oversized card set. There were two unique series in 1990, but only one type for the remaining years.

1992 is definitely the rarest of the issues, and I'm not sure I've ever seen one in a shop. I finally bit the bullet and bought this Tatsunori Hara:

The design copies the base card from that year, but the set is much larger than the regular version.
I ended up with two Haras for the price of one. This is from the 1993 Big set. Again, it uses the same design as the regular 1993 cards, just in a larger size.

While we're at it, here are the other sets at a glance:

Here's the first version of 1990 Big Size cards. The front design is different from the regular set, but the backs are similar to base cards.
The second series was printed on photographic paper and has no Calbee markings, though they have the facsimile signature on the front. These might be better off labeled as bromides or raw photos rather than Big Cards.

Here's 1991. It, like 1992 and 1993, uses the same design as the base set.

I'm happy to have this run of inserts completed and crossed off my list! I guess my next whale will be a 1989 Hologram card. That might prove to be impossible, but we shall see. Until next time...

Thursday, April 15, 2021

I'm Still Learning

You can't collect everything. It's impossible. With the existence of 1/1 cards, that should be pretty obvious, but even ignoring those parallels, there are about 45,000 different MLB sets out there. Add in around 7500 minor league team sets and over 10,000 Japanese sets. Oh, that's my type collection goal. Over 60,000 cards. I am approaching 20,000 cards, but the other 40k aren't going to be easy.

The same can be said for knowing all the sets. It's possible to be familiar with major releases, or be an expert on vintage gum cards, but stuff will always slip through the cracks. In Japan, a lack of documentation makes it even harder to know details about sets released even a few years ago.

Sometimes the information is out there, but I've forgotten, misremembered, or misinterpreted it. And I'm not talking about translation and language barriers. The above card of Koji Akiyama is an insert card found in the 1995 BBM All-Stars set. I had it labeled as "All Stars Inserts" in my list, but I never properly attached it to the box set, instead believing it came from regular packs. Since I never came across one in the wild, I recently reviewed Engel's last guide containing modern cards, and realized that the inserts were, in fact, found in the box set. Knowing that, I could quickly hunt one down, and now I have a full 1995 All-Stars set to go with it!
The Seibu Lions celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2003 (25 years of being the Seibu Lions, not the overall franchise anniversary). BBM reprinted cards from their 1991-2003 sets, adding a special logo on the front, and a second copyright line, second card number, and special stamp on the back. 

There are actually two different sets of this type. The above card, with the number L2, comes from a 25-card "limited" set. A second series, with LP card number prefixes, uses the same design, but only has 10 cards, and seems to be less rare.

Both sets are mentioned on the backs of the promo cards below. These three cards reproduce the covers of past Weekly Baseball magazines, with the backs advertising a special event for the release of a "mook" for the Lions anniversary. The event took place at Seibu Dome and one Seibu department store location. With the purchase of the book, you could receive an LP promo set, and it appears that the 25-card set could also be purchased for an additional 1500 yen. The 25-card set was limited to 1000 copies; that's not a big number, but I'm surprised I haven't seen more of them around.

Here are the three promo cards, front and back:

Finally, this card is a promo for the Chiba Lotte Marines issued in 2004. It's numbered MP9.
If you're interested in the details, check out NPB Card Guy's post about this set. Basically, it was sold with a particular snack at a small chain of convenience stores in a small part of Japan. Despite discovering this set in 2019, I didn't actually get my own card from the set until a couple weeks ago. 

How many other uncatalogued cards and sets are floating around out there? I'm still learning, but I'll never know. Until next time...