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.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The 30-Day Baseball Card Challenge (Day 27)

Day 27: A favorite oddball card from 1990 or later

Today's oddball brings us back to Japan. While the challenge is to post an oddball "card" from 1990 or later, I chose to highlight one of the other collectibles you can find here.

Team loyalty is pretty strong with most baseball fans here; there are very few people who are just fans of the game. I guess the same is true in the US, but I feel like the bond here is stronger. And for big fans, that means buying jerseys and sitting in the cheerleading seats, learning the cheers so you can chant along at the game.

I think the reason BBM can release full team sets every year for every team is because there are fans for every team, and they want to collect their team's cards. Can you imagine Topps releasing 30 different team pack-based products every year in addition to all the other product? And the teams themselves have tons of products, including series of collectibles.

For example, I recently picked up a big lot of pins issued by the Chiba Lotte Marines. For the past several years at least, they have issued pins for many of the popular players in various series. I've seen buttons, keychains, and all manner of other small things that can fit into the gacha-gacha (capsule toy) vending machines. Every team has something every year, if not multiple things.

And the Tigers, being the popular Osaka-area team, get a few other product tie-ins as well. Glico is a major snack company based in Osaka, and they have partnered with Hanshin multiple times for various collectibles. In 2003, they issued trading cards packaged with chocolate to highlight the team's victories in the first half of the season. And today's product was sold in 2003 as well.
The picture you see here is not of cards, though. Each of these is a small CD cover; the outside designed to look like a newspaper. Actually, it may be a redesign of an actual newspaper cover story. The CD itself... well, I don't know. I've never opened it up, but I believe based on the packaging that it's just audio, probably a recording of the broadcast from the game featured on the front.
The backs have details on the game featured on the front. I believe these were sold in two series of 10, as there are 20 cards in all in the set. I'm missing a few CDs for a full set, but I'll find those eventually.

While these aren't cards, they are pretty cool oddballs and nearly card-sized. I mean, Upper Deck included CD-ROMs in packs, Pinnacle sold cards in soup cans, and Topps makes stickers. Now I just need to pop one of these into my computer and see what happens! 


  1. I think they should make a higher-end set that is packed out per team. There are so many team collectors now, they would be a great target audience. They could make boxes of certain divisions, and mark the packs for the team they contain. Team sets could be either the starting lineups or up to the entire roster, and a couple relics and autos of the bigger names. It would mean you could still trade for your team or just pick out certain players and trade the extras to set builders or collectors of other players.

    1. They already do that here for a lot of teams - the Carp get a few every year, as do the Giants and the Fighters (thanks to Ohtani). And then whatever team is popular. Individual team box sets with about a 27-card base set plus one or two hits per box. They've also done team and themed premium boxes similar to Topps Tribute style where you get a hit or two in the box and only a couple base cards.

      Honestly, I don't like premium releases because they add a ton of complication to my type collection; one MLB release can have 100 or more sets including all the parallels. The Japanese releases aren't so complicated, thankfully.

      I wouldn't like a division-based product, and I'd have no interest in a premium product. Fans would be interested in lower-priced team packs, though - they could be sold in stadiums as well as shops. And like BBM does, subsets, inserts, or entire releases could be made based on team history, local fan favorites, and anniversaries.

      I'm not saying it won't work, but a division-based set isn't much different from a full MLB release. Either commit and go team-only or don't.