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

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Collecting Korea: KBO and MLB Apparel "Haul"

I hate that word. Haul. There are so many words these days that get overused to describe an experience. I wouldn't call a few clothing items a "haul". Has anyone used that word to describe baseball cards? I would expect that your purchase would involve at least a hundred cards, and I don't mean via a single box purchase or getting a couple rack packs. Haul requires work, heavy packages, and lots of time.

I guess I spent lots of time going after these. The items you'll see below came from four locations, three of those being flea markets. I obviously spent hours looking through booths to find these and the other items I brought back from Seoul, and overall my purchases on this trip were enough to fill an entire backpack to the brim. I had to buy an extra bag to get home with everything! I still wouldn't call four jerseys and two hats a haul.

Anyway, on to my finds!
 Let's start with this cap from the Nexen Heroes. Technically, the Heroes came into existence in 2008, though they are the successors to the disbanded Hyundai Unicorns. They don't claim any of the heritage, records, or statistics of that team, though. Like in Japan, the Korean team names are usually referred to by the Sponsor's name, so you would consider this team to be Nexen (owned by Nexen Tire), not the Heroes.
 Nexen plays in Mokdong Stadium in Seoul, which is the stadium where I saw my first KBO game. I picked up this hat at one of the flea markets on Saturday. I'm usually picky about used team hats but it looked brand new (it's probably been worn a couple times) and it was super-cheap!
 The W stands for Wyverns. The SK Wyverns were formed in 2000 after the Ssangbangwool Raiders were disbanded due to bankruptcy of their owner. So, similar to Nexen, a new team was formed but there is no historical link; however, many of the Raiders players were on the Wyverns' roster. SK is a major conglomerate. The team plays in Incheon, a suburb of Seoul and home of South Korea's largest airport.
 I think the Nexen cap might simply be a fan cap, though it could be the game model. This Wyverns cap is the game model. It's extremely light and the mesh-like design means it stayed very cool even in very sunny weather. I bought it at the stadium; they were doing some kind of sale and it was only 5000 won (about $5)!
 I thought I'd share this hat as well, which I picked up on my first visit to Korea. I believe it's the design Korea used during the WBC in 2013.
 The Korean flag appears on the side.
 The back has a KBO logo.

I also found some jerseys while snooping around the booths at the Seoul Folk Flea Market.
 This is a Lotte Giants jersey. I'm not sure how authentic of a reproduction it is compared to the game jerseys, though I am sure it's a replica sold at the stadium. I think this player is Lee Dae-Ho (link to stats in Korean), a career .309 hitter with 225 home runs over 11 seasons in the KBO. Since 2012 he has been in Japan with the Buffaloes and now the Hawks. Here is his NPB page with NPB stats (in English).

 This appears to be Lee Hyun-Seung, who has been with the Bears since 2010. Here is his page with Korean stats. He's not much of a pitcher overall, though he gets a lot of work with one or two innings per appearance.
 This may not be KBO, but I'll take it. Is it an authentic product by Mitchell & Ness? Given the taggings I think so but I don't have anything to compare it to. What are your thoughts? Yea or nay? Is there anything I should look for in particular?
I don't know what to think of this Ichiro jersey. It doesn't seem 100% right, but it still has tags (they're tucked inside the jersey in this picture) and there is one of those authentic MLB hologram stickers on the tag. Again, do you have any thoughts? Obviously, it's not a game jersey but do I have a knock-off or the real thing that fans could have bought in stores? (Note that the colors are a bit off due to the lighting in my apartment.) Ichiro is quite possibly my favorite active MLB player, so buying it was a no-brainer.

Regardless of authenticity of the MLB jerseys, I'm very happy with my purchases! I might have to go to a Hawks game and wear the Lotte Giants jersey. Though it is really small; I don't think I'd fit in it and I bought it purely for decoration. I do fit in the others. I got all four jerseys at flea markets in Seoul.

What are your thoughts on these items? Are they authentic? What would you have paid for them?

Tomorrow, I'll bring you the baseball souvenirs I picked up as I visited the different parks!


  1. Wyverns, not Wyrvens. Hensley Meulens played for SK for maybe 2 weeks. He had a miserable time of it, going 9 for 46 with only 1 home run. At one point, he was almost attacked by a bat-wielding coach who thought Meulens was disrespecting him. Luckily other players restrained the coach. Too bad it didn't work out for him or he might have had a card in the 2000 Teleca set.

    Nice catches on the jerseys and hats! At some point, I'd like to get a Meulens Wyverns replica jersey.

    1. Yeah so I made that spelling error four times in two paragraphs! Fixed, and thanks for telling me. I'm not sure I'd have a good time playing in Korea. Baseball is baseball, but Korean baseball has a harsh atmosphere, a feeling I got from Taiwan too.

      I'm not sure if you'd be able to find a throwback jersey if they have changed the style. And it seems like you have to buy the lettering for a particular player from the store, instead of by characters/syllables. You could probably have something made, though.

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