Wednesday, April 24, 2019

2019 Calbee Series One

The first of what is expected to be three Series from Calbee was released a few weeks back.  There's no big surprises in Series One - the base set contains 98 cards which break down into 72 player cards (6 per team), 22 "Title Holder" cards and four checklist cards.

The English names are back on the front of the player cards again this year after being replaced by Japanese names last year.  The fronts otherwise look pretty much the same as Calbee fronts always look - borderless cards with the player's number, team name and team logo positioned above his name.

The player cards in Series One always seem kind of light on the big name players and this year is no exception.  None of the biggest names in Japanese baseball - Tomoyuki Sugano, Tetsuto Yamada, Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh, Takehiro Norimoto, Yuki Yanagita, Shogo Akiyama, Seiya Suzuki or Hayato Sakamoto - appear in the set.  It's not a big deal because this is really only one third of Calbee's set this year but it is something to keep in mind.  Probably the biggest names in the player cards in this Series are Shinnosuke Abe, Koji Uehara, Nobuhiro Matsuda, T-Okada and Takeya Nakamura.  As far as I can tell there's only two players in the set who changed teams over the winter and they're a pair of ex-Orix pitchers - Yuki Nishi (Tigers) and Chihiro Kaneko (Fighters).  There are two rookies in the set which is a bit unusual - Kyota Fujiwara of the Marines and Akira Neo of the Dragons, the pair of former Osaka Toin teammates who went in the first round of last fall's draft.

Photo selection in the set is a little better than usual.  There's still way too many photos of pitchers pitching and hitters hitting but there's a pretty good selection of fielders and baserunners as well.  There's only a couple cards in the Series that use a horizontal format.  It looks to me that all the photos in the set were taken last season with the exception of the Nishi, Kaneko, Fujiwara and Neo cards (obviously).  Here's some example cards:






The 22 card "Title Holder" subset features players who either won an award or lead either league in a major statistical category last season.  This subset includes a couple of those big names that I mentioned earlier including Sugano, Yamada, Norimoto, Akiyama and Yanagita as well as Hotaka Yamakawa and Wladimir Balentien.  Hideto Asamura and Yoshihiro Maru are included in the subset in the uniforms of their 2019 teams (the Eagles and Giants respectively) despite having earned their titles with a different team (the Lions and Carp respectively).  Each player only has one card regardless of how many titles they won - Maru for example won the Central League MVP and lead the league in OBP last year.  His card indicates both titles:

As usual the four checklist cards feature events from late last season - the Lions and Carp celebrating their league championships on September 30th and 26th respectively, the Hawks' Nippon Series Victory Parade in Fukuoka on November 25th and Tetsuto Yamada getting his 30th home run of the season on August 24th.  Here's the Hawk's parade card:

As always you can see all the cards over at Jambalaya including the two insert sets ("Star" and "Legend")  and the special box set ("Strikeout Leader") that's available by redeeming "Lucky Cards".

1 comment:

Sean said...

Yay, I'm glad to see they put some variety in their photos once again!

Its already late April and I still haven't bought a bag of these yet, my local convenience store doesn't have them this year for some reason! This gives me more motivation to head out to the big supermarket (even though as you say the player selection in Series 1 is a bit light).