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

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

This Set Is Cool: 2016 Vittum KBO Foreign Attack

When it comes to baseball outside the US, card collecting can be hit or miss. Modern card sets for the NPB are pretty comprehensive, so it's pretty difficult to find players without cards. But there are plenty of retired players without cardboard. Yes, this is true for MLB too, but MLB's "modern" card era started in the 1950s, while the first truly comprehensive NPB set didn't hit shelves until 1991. (Calbee has issued fairly large sets since 1973, but players on less-popular teams and those with very little playing time didn't get cards, while players on the Giants - especially Oh and Nagashima - received dozens of cards in the same set.

CPBL (Taiwan) has had a fairly short history, but it has been riddled with scandal, and as a result the sport just isn't that popular. However, the league itself has issued card sets for the past several seasons. The last set I can see covers the 2016 season. Their current format is pretty extensive, but again there are several players from the past who can't be collected.

And while baseball is really popular in Korea, there has never been a real, consistent, comprehensive set. Lately, a company called Ntreev Soft has been issuing sets, first with Duael Entertainment as a gaming card, and now with SMG Holdings as a more traditional trading card. But from what I understand, there are no foreigners in the sets, leaving out some of the most impactful and popular players.

Dan over at Korean Cardboard produced a card set featuring all of the foreigners who played in the KBO (the Korean professional baseball league) in 2016. His card brand is called Vittum, and the set is titled Foreign Attack. While these are custom cards, he went with a professional printer and the cards are pretty high-quality. Not Museum Collection, perhaps, but the card stock reminds me a lot of 1992 Topps... in a good way. (By the way, the '92 Topps set is a great set. Maybe I should do a post about it someday.) Just for the record, while this set covers the 2016 season, it was released in late 2017.
 Here's card #1, a regular base card. The cards have white borders and a very simple, clean design. I could have probably picked a more interesting photo, because one thing that stands out is the variety in photography found throughout the set. There are pitchers pitching and batters batting, but a lot of the shots are just of players in the game or having fun. Yes, that does mean there's a lack of action, but that's okay - as long as not everybody is just smiling without a cap, looking at the camera during photo day.

Turning the card over, the entire set is hand-numbered (I have an eBay 1/1 - #20/20!). A different photo is used at the top in black and white, and card numbers are very easy to read. Players' complete career statistics are included, too.
 There are a couple subsets. The four foreign players to win MVP awards each receive their own card. Tyrone Woods is the first, in 1998, and the backs include a color photo and a write-up about their accomplishments.
 The second subset highlights the foreign players who led batting and pitching categories in the 2016 season. Three key categories are featured on the front, with more detail provided on the back.
 I like the floating heads found here, a nice retro touch.
Finally, the 48th card is an unnumbered checklist. The color-coding of players identifies them by team, and the backs of the cards are also color-matched to their teams. That's a nice touch. The QR code will take you to Dan's blog. I like the use of the set logo on the back of the checklist, too.

Dan's mentioned a 2017-based set, so I'll be getting that one too! And someday... maybe someday... I'll finally print my own set as well.

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