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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are These Trading Cards? 2013 Hanshin Tigers Photos (Team Issue)

For the first time in my life, I honestly dressed up as a baseball player for Halloween. I probably wore a jersey somewhere at some time for Halloween, but I never really dressed up after I got interested in baseball. I was a Tigers player because I had found an inexpensive jersey, but I needed a hat. So I headed to the Hanshin Tigers team store in Tokyo (yes - the Tigers are so popular they have a team store in another city) to check out their selection. I found the store by accident last year while taking a walk in the area. It's located on the street in front of Meiji Jingu Stadium (home of the Swallows), towards the subway stations. (I would later see a Swallows game and look inside.) I found my hat, and I spent a good bit of time poking around the expensive souvenirs looking for some in-house cards (they carry lots of BBM packs) or player-based souvenirs similar to the Fighters mini-banner I found this year. I didn't find anything easily identifiable as cards at first glance, but I decided to buy a pack of game day photos.
 Each pack has five photos of one player, marked with a specific date.
 I grabbed Matt Murton Vol. 2 because of this specific image.
 Murton hit a three-run home run in the first inning of the game, which the Tigers would end up winning against the Swallows, 7-6.
 In fact, Murton went 3-5 that day, a pretty good day at the plate!
The package has a photo header card showing all four images found in the pack. The backs are blank and cards are essentially unnumbered, and they are printed on thin stock. I'm not sure if these classify as cards, although they do come in sets and feature specific players. What do you think? Either way, I'm glad to have some of these in my collection!


  1. For me, it comes down to how the photos or "cards" were issued. Anyone can snap photos and have them developed, but when a team does it themselves and slaps a logo on and assembles them into sets, then I'm more inclined to accept them as part of my "card" collection. The same question applies to postcards or photo cards (those usually postcard sized photos with nothing on the back, commonly issued by teams for autograph events or requests).

    Jones Photo of Tucson, Arizona, issued photo sets for the local minor league teams for the better part of a decade, and those are pursued by the hardcore player collectors as "cards" even though they are literally just photos with names and logos on them (printed on photo paper and everything). In 1998, Pinnacle issued their Snapshots sets which were really just nice photos on photo paper (but with the Pinnacle logo on the back instead of, say, Fujifilm).

    If I found similar sets that included photos of Hensley Meulens, Bernardo Brito or Tuffy Rhodes, you can bet I'd snap them up and add them to my collections (compiling checklists along the way). Either way, great catch finding these. It seems bizarre for one team to open a store across from another team's home stadium. If the Yankees opened a store across from Fenway, they'd probably end up with a brick through the window before the store even opened.

  2. I agree with a lot of what Jason P had to say. If they are just snap photos with no markings and/or on thin paper that is more akin to photo stock than cardboard stock then I would call the photos or possibly postcards (depending on the size). If they were larger than about 5"x7" then I'd call them photos, or posters maybe,

    These I would probably call postcards, or photo cards.

  3. Great pictures. Hopefully someone told Tsuyoshi Nishioka that his jersey had a hole in it...

  4. Jason and CaptKirk - I am inclined to call them cards due to the added markings. I haven't seen any other teams do this yet, but then again I don't have access to some NPB team stores like I do for the Tigers.

    I didn't notice the hole in Nishioka's jersey!