Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Blue, Gold And Fade To Black

The company that's been issuing cards for the KBO for the past three years (SMG/Duael/Ntreev) has issued card sets in the off season each year - the Blue Edition was issued in 2014-15, the Gold Edition was issued in 2015-16 and the Black Edition was issued in 2016-17.  The boxes for these sets were pretty much guaranteed to contain multiple memorabilia and/or autograph cards and so sold for a higher amount (~$38) than the boxes for the other sets (which were ~16).  Because of the higher price (not ridiculously high but just more than I wanted to invest in KBO cards) I never bought any boxes for the sets.  But thanks to trading with and buying cards from the three amigos of Korean Baseball cards - Dan, George and Justin - I was able to get the base sets for all three sets.  I had never done any posts on these cards so I thought I would do so now.

The base set for the Blue Edition has 80 cards in it.  There are 27 "Gold Normal" cards and 53 "Normal" cards.  The "Gold Normal" cards are very odd - there are three cards per team (remember that the KT Wiz did not start play until 2015 so in 2014 there were only nine teams in the KBO) and each card features a re-cropped photo of a player featured in one of the earlier sets from 2014 (Season One, Season Two or Season Three).  For example, here's the card of Seung-Youp Lee from Season Two next to his "Gold Normal" card:

#SBC02-004 & #SBCBE-146-GN
A couple of the players featured had short-printed "All Star" cards in the Season One set so their "Gold Normal" card shows a significantly re-cropped photo like this one for Joo-Chan Kim:

#SBC01-101 & SBCBE-167-GN
It's a bit hard to tell from the scans but the "Gold Normal" cards use the same design as the Season Two and Three cards except that there are gold lines around the edges.

The 53 "Normal" cards are split up between 27 player cards (3 per team) and a logo, mascot and group shot for each team (except there's no mascot card for the Sk Wyverns).  Each player in the "Normal" cards had a short printed "All Star" card in the Season One set (which means that there's a couple players like Kim who have cards in both the "Gold Normal" and "Normal" cards.  The card design is the same as the Season Two and Three cards.  Here's a couple examples:

#SBCBE-175-N (Byung-Kyu Lee)

#SBCBE-192-N (Tae-Hyon Chong)

#SBCBE-194-N (Jung-Bae Park)
Here's examples for the team logo, mascot and team photo cards:



The backs of the player cards in both subsets matches the backs of the cards in the earlier three sets:

The full checklist for the set is up at TradingCardDB.

I have to say that the base sets for the Gold and Black Editions aren't anywhere near as interesting as the one for the Blue Edition.  Both sets had a 50 card base set that was entirely made up of "Normal" cards (five per team).  All the cards are player cards - no team cards of any sort.  There doesn't seem to be any pattern to the player selection for the cards although I could be missing something obvious.  The design used is different than any of the other sets issued in either year.  Here's some sample cards from the Gold Edition set:





Back of #SBCGE-113-N
And here's some examples from the Black Edition:

#SBCBK-076-N (Si-Heon Son)

#SBCBK-102-N (Jong-Yoon Park)

#SBCBK-073-N (Dae-Woo Kim)

#SBCBK-087-N (Jae-Sang Park)

Back of #SBCBK-083-N
TradingCardDB has the full checklists for both the Gold and Black Editions.

The Black Edition apparently will be the last KBO set done by SMG/Ntreev, etc.  According to George they lost their license to do the cards and another company has supposedly stepped in.  No set has been released this year yet however.

I want to thank Dan, George and Justin for providing me with all of these cards.  I especially want to thank Justin - he's back in the States now and was kind enough to invite me to join him at a Frederick Keys game with his father and girlfriend back in April.  I had a great afternoon hanging out at the ballpark with the three of them and talking baseball and Justin gave me my Black Edition set there.

UPDATE - George says he talked to a friend who is a card distributor in Korea who says that there won't be another KBO card set until next year.

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