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Sunday, November 23, 2014

2009 Ibaraki Golden Golds 5th Anniversary Team Set

The Golden Golds are an independent team in Ibaraki Prefecture, not too far north from Tokyo. Their first season was 2005, and after the 2009 season a card set was released to celebrate their fifth anniversary, though they celebrated playing five seasons instead of playing for five years.

The set starts with the manager and coaches, followed by the catchers and infielders, and then the outfielders, as has become the standard with Japanese card team sets.
 The players' names may or may not be in English. And as you see with #14 below, some players have special notations under their name.

 Take a look at player 18 above. He is sponsored by cell phone/service provider au, which is featured prominently on his jersey and even ends up on his card.
 Note the color change - different positions have different colors. And the #27 catcher is sponsored by Coca Cola (コカ・コーラ).
 The biggest draw of the Golden Golds, and probably the card set, is Ayumi Kataoka, a woman ballplayer who joined the team as a 19 year old at its inception. She has also been the team's manager since 2011. Kataoka has her own card set, and apparently instead of being jersey number "one" it is read as "はじめて" (hajimete, "the first time").

Each box set comes with the complete base set of 32 cards plus two special cards.

All cards have a signature parallel, and I'm sure each box contained at least one of these. Nine players are in the "GG9" autographed insert set, limited to 50 cards each. Two jersey cards, with 120 copies, and a total of 200 signed "cheki" instant photos.


  1. I see this set on YJA every so often and I've always wondered about it. I'm glad you did this post so I can take a look at it.

    I've never quite understood what the Golden Golds are - are some of the people on the team famous celebrities? Former NPB players? (At least one of the coaches is - Matsunuma)

    Ayumi Kataoka and Hagimoto-manager have both appeared on "First Pitch" cards in various BBM 2nd Version sets.

  2. I think the Golden Golds are best described as a barnstorming team playing scrimmages against other teams. There have been (maybe still are) celebrities (or at least talento), and I'm not really sure they are in any league. I've seen many of the autographs in stores for only 100 yen each, since most of the players must be scrubs.

    I had hoped to see some independent league games this year - I came pretty close to seeing some in Shikoku. But I'm told that there'll be a new indy team close to me next year, and regardless I'm hoping to see at least one game from each league.