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 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!