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 4, 2015

First Pitch, Japan Style

Welcome to another baseball season! As all the celebrities show up this year to toss out the first pitch, keep this group in mind.
World Order is a Japanese music group that's more known for their in-sync moves than the music itself, but you have to admit it's pretty cool to watch. They threw out the first pitch at a Golden Eagles game a few days ago up in Sendai, and I have to say it was pretty cool!
Now if only they can get a good image of that pitch on cardboard...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Look at and Checklists for Kellogg's MLB Japanese Issues

From 2007-2010, Kellogg's issued small sets featuring MLB stars. These were included with the company's food products, which as far as I've seen here would mean mostly cereal. Of course, the checklists focused heavily on Japanese stars in the MLB, but it's not exclusively for former NPB players.

The sets all feature the Kellogg's logo on front and back as well as the manufacturer's logo. Upper Deck issued the 2007-2009 sets, with Topps taking over in 2010 after Upper Deck lost their license.

With very small checklists, collecting full sets shouldn't be too hard, and is a project I am considering. On the other hand, singles usually aren't cheap. I should note that my checklists (including spelling) are based mostly on the SCF database. 
 The 2007 set has 10 cards, with three Japanese players:

  1. Hideki Matsui
  2. Kenji Johjima
  3. Tadahito Iguchi
  4. Ryan Howard
  5. David Wright
  6. David Ortiz
  7. Ivan Rodriguez
  8. Alex Rodriguez
  9. Albert Pujols
  10. Justin Verlander

 2008 again has 10 cards, and three Japanese players. Note that the SCF database is incorrect; based on a bit of research the below list should be accurate.

  1. Daisuke Matsuzaka
  2. Hideki Matsui
  3. Takashi Saito
  4. Jimmy Rollins
  5. Vladimir Guerrero
  6. Manny Ramirez
  7. Joe Mauer
  8. Josh Beckett
  9. Grady Sizemore
  10. Jose Reyes

I don't have any 2009s yet to check the design, or to even verify the manufacturer. The SCF database lists a checklist of six players:

  1. Akinori Iwamura
  2. Daisuke Matsuzaka
  3. Kosuke Fukudome
  4. Alfonso Soriano
  5. Alex Rodriguez
  6. Josh Hamilton 

The last year of issue was 2010, with Topps taking over due to Upper Deck's loss of licensing with MLB Properties.

  1. Hideki Matsui
  2. Akinori Iwamura
  3. Hideki Okajima
  4. Chase Utley
  5. David Wright
  6. CC Sabathia
All in all, a total of 32 cards seem to have been issued. The key cards will definitely be the Matsuis for a set builder.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Yu Darvish's True Rookie Cards

Darvish may have MLB rookie cards in 2012, but you can't ignore his start in Japan. He was drafted in 2004, and as such started appearing in card sets in early 2005.

His first card, chronologically, is in the 2005 BBM Rookie Edition set (#12). I think it's safe to say that 99.99% of current rookies get their first card in this annual issue. After that, he appeared as part of a multi-player card featuring the team's draft picks in the "Challengers" box set (#30). And he was included in BBM's 1st and 2nd Version sets (their flagship release) on card #116, with silver and gold signature parallels, and #760.

Other rookie-year sets include two cards in the premium Touch The Game set (#25 and #147), with his first relic card - a game-used ball card with a logo parallel, and a photo card. He also has three Konami game cards.

There's one more rookie-year set that Darvish appears in; he has two cards in the annual Fighters team set. Card #F03 is on the left, below, and subset card #F72 is on the right. The team set, issued in packs, also includes Darvish's first autographed card, a parallel of the base set limited to only 10 copies.
His rookie cards are definitely the key cards in every set above, and while they aren't as expensive as one might pay for Pujols or Ichiro RCs in the US, they usually don't come cheap. But thanks to a poorly-listed auction on Yahoo Japan Auctions, I got both of the above cards and many more singles from Japanese players in the MLB for under $2 shipped. In fact, I didn't realize I was getting Darvish's rookie card until tonight, when I went through and pulled out the singles I needed from the lot.

Even without the RC, I certainly got my money's worth, as several cards went to a small collection I'm working on, and a few others went to my type collection - including that Newcomer parallel above.