When I go to Japanese baseball games, I always check the surrounding shops and gachapon (toy vending machines) for collectibles. Most of the time, the vending machines have little trinkets for the players - mini batting helmets, pins, stickers, etc. I've come across cards once or twice before.
Last week, I went to the Rakuten Golden Eagles game in Sendai, and while browsing the shops I noticed they had a pack-based issue. I bought one pack, but I'll have to buy more packs or find single cards somewhere.
The manager, Senichi Hoshino, has jersey number 77. It seems that most managers have numbers like 77 or 88 - 8 is a good luck number in Japan, and I think 7 is too.
There are other inserts or subsets in the issue:
- a 2-card title holders set
- a 1-card newcomer "set" - perhaps McGehee?
- a 12-card insert set (they're called "insert card" on the pack)
- a 3-card jersey (relic) set
- a 34-card autograph set
I would like to find samples for the rest of the issues. I might have to return to Sendai and visit the card store (closed when I made my trip) to hopefully find more team issues like this, and possibly compile a checklist.