Saturday, January 5, 2019

2018 In Review - Everything else (including Korea)

Here's a summary of everything I know of that was issued in Japan by someone other than BBM, Calbee and Epoch in 2018 (plus the Korean sets):

Hits issued eight of their "mini colored paper" sets this year.  These were all relatively small sets - 8-15 cards plus parallels.  Five of these were team sets for the Carp, Swallows and Hawks plus two for the Baystars - one I guess "regular" one and a later one called "Fierce Battle".  They also issued three single player sets to celebrate the player reaching a particular milestone - Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh's 150th home run, Yasuaki Yamasaki's 100th save and Seiichi Uchikawa's 2000th hit.

I learned from Ryan recently that Konami has issued a set called Baseball Collection.  I don't know much about it but it is some sort of collectible card game - looks like you use the cards in an on-line game.  I have no idea how many cards there but I do know for sure that they are physical cards as I've seen a couple for sale on Ebay.  This is the first set offered by Konami in several years and the first collectible card game set for NPB in Japan since Bandai's last Owners League set in 2015.

There were at least two team issued sets that were apparently marketed nationwide (as opposed to only being available to team's fan clubs).  One was a "comprehensive" team set for the Eagles while the other highlighted a subset of the Baystars players.

There were a couple food related sets.  For the third consecutive year Nippon-Ham and BBM teamed up on a Fighters team set that was given away with packages of "Home Run Sausage".  The set has a total of 147 cards that appears to include two cards for every player on the Fighters' roster plus the manager and the mascots - I think the cards were issued in two separate series.   There are also 44 or so "rare" cards split between "We Love Hokkaido" and "Hokkaido Be Ambitious" sets.  There was also a 36 card set of Central League players (six per team) given away one at a time in packages of "Central League Home Run" popsicles from Meito. 

There were also baseball cards for the Marines being given away with "Victory" meals at Lotteria stands at Chiba Marine Stadium.  There were 10 cards in total.  I'm not positive but I think there are similar sets being given away with meals at other stadiums - I had a conversation with Deanna Rubin at one point last year talking about the Lions cards she'd gotten with bento boxes at Seibu Dome.

There were at least 76 baseball cards issued in Japan last year which is the most since I started counting in 2013.

After a down year in 2017 there was quite a resurgence in Korean baseball cards this year.  Daewon Media picked up the KBO license after SMG/Duael/Ntreev had lost it after 2016 and ended up issuing several sets under the "SCC" label.  They did a "2017" set to cover the gap left when no one did a set that year, then issued another five sets for 2018 - the "All Star Stickers" set, the KBO Collection set, the KBO Collection 2 Red And Black sets (which each included half the teams) and the KBO Collection Premium set.  In addition Dan Skrezyna did two self published sets under the "Vittum" label - the "Foreign Attack" set featuring all the foreign players in the KBO in 2016 and the "Home Run King" set featuring the top ten home run hitters from 2016.  There was also a 12 card team set for the Hanwha Eagles that was apparently given away with a calendar.

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