Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 In Review - Calbee

Calbee Series One for sale at Yokohama Stadium

As they've done for a number of years, Calbee issued their cards in three series this past season.  Each Series had a base set of roughly 100 cards, a 24 card "Star" insert set and an associated box set that was available as a some sort of mail in premium.  The total number of cards in the base set was 301, down a little from last year (322).

Series One and Three had 72 "regular" player cards in the base set (6 per team) while Series Two had 84 (7 per team) for a total of 228 cards (19 per team).  As usual, some players showed up in multiple Series so the actual number of unique players is about 182.  Oddly enough, Kazuhiro Hatakeyama of the Swallows ended up with a base card in all three Series for some reason.

Each of the three Series had at least one subset unique to it.  Series One had the "Title Holder" subset - 24 cards of players who either won an individual award in 2012 or lead their league in some category.  Series Two had the "Exciting Rookie" subset - 12 cards featuring the top draft pick for each team.  Calbee did not do any other cards of these 12 players (with the exception of an All Star card for Shohei Ohtani) so there are no base cards in the set for Ohtani, Tomoyuki Sugano or Shintaro Fujinami.  Series Three had both the "All Star" subset - 23 cards featuring the players elected to the All Star teams by the fans - and the "Hideki Matsui Memorial" subset - 2 cards featuring Hideki Matsui, one a reprint of one of his 2003 Title Holder cards and the other showing him and Shigeo Nagashima from the National Honor Award ceremony in May.

As usual, Calbee had 12 checklist cards, four in each Series.  The theme this season was team mascots.

 The "Star" insert set included in each Series featured 24 cards (2 per team) for a total of 72 cards in all (6 per team).  As usual, there was a rarer gold facsimile version of each "Star" card available as well.

The mail in box sets were a 15 card "Best 9" set for Series One, a 12 card "Speedstar" set for Series Two and a 12 card "Strikeout Pitcher" set for Series Three.  The Series Two and Three sets featured one player per team.  The "Best 9" subset was for the 2012 Best 9 teams, but Calbee left off two players because they had left for MLB (Hiroyuki Nakajima and Kensuke Tanaka) and two others because they had switched teams in the off season (Tony Blanco and Yoshio Itoi).

I noticed that there were a handful of players who had cards in a subset but not a "regular" player card.  Beyond the 12 players in the "Exciting Rookie" subset, Jun Hirose (All Star), Hirotoshi Masui (All Star, Title Holder), Tatsushi Masuda (All Star) and Hisayoshi Chono (Title Holder) all fell into this category.  This is apparently not that unusual for Calbee - neither Kenta Maeda nor Masahiro Tanaka have "regular" cards in the 2012 set.  The only other glaring omission in the 2013 set that I've noticed is the PL Rookie Of The Year Takahiro Norimoto, although the CL Rookie Of The Year, Yasuhiro Ogawa does appear in the set.

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