Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 In Review - Everything Else

There were 21 sets issued in Japan by outfits other than BBM or Calbee last year, which is probably a record.

Actually I need to caveat that a bit because one of the sets I'm counting was a joint issue between BBM and Nippon-Ham - it was a 66-ish card Fighters team set that was given away in packs of one card in boxes of Nippon-Ham's "Home Run Sausage".  There were another food issue this past season  as well - Kabaya teamed up with Epoch to put out a 36 card set of Central League players in 1 card packs with banana flavored gum.  I believe this is the first set of baseball cards that Kabaya has been involved with since the Kabaya-Leaf cards from 1967.

On their own Epoch released 15 different sets last season.  Most of these were either their moderately high end team sets (sold in boxes of 5-22 cards for 10,800-12,960 yen each) or their ultra high end sets that sold in boxes of 5 or 6 cards for 16,200 yen each.  Each of the boxes guaranteed autograph and/or memorabilia cards which explains their high prices.  Their team sets were "Stars & Rookies" sets for the Lions, Buffaloes and Baystars, a set for the Dragons' 80th Anniversary called "Record Breakers", a Swallows "Shadow Box Edition" set, "Season Achievement" sets for the Fighters and Baystars and a "Stars & Legends" set for the Carp.  Three of their ultra high end sets - Sayanora Home Runs, League Leaders and League Leaders Volume Two - were done in conjunction with the OB Club (aka the Japan Baseball Promotion Association).  The other one was a set for the Pacific League called either the "Premier Edition" or "Premium Edition".  Epoch's only other set last year was a more traditional pack based set for the Japan Women's Baseball League (JWBL).

Sports Graphic Number published two sets this season.  The first was one of their traditional single player sets - this time for Hiroki Kuroda of the Carp.  The second set actually featured two players - Kuroda (on getting his 200th win between MLB and NPB) and Takahiro Arai (on getting his 2000th hit in NPB).

Perhaps the oddest set of the year was issued by the magazine Pro Yakyuu Ai.  It was a 57 cards set featuring cards of nine members of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in street clothes.

There appear to have been three team issued sets that were marketed nationwide (or at least showed up in Jambalaya's 2016 set listings).  There was an Eagles team set (which featured one of only two Japanese cards of Jonny Gomes that I'm aware of), a 3-D set for the Baystars and the third edition of the Swallows "fan vote" set - this year's set featured nine cards each of five players and the mascot.

So the total number of Japanese sets issued last year was 67 - more than the 59 put out in 2015 but not quite the 70 published in 2014.

In addition to the Japanese sets, there were five sets issued in Korea for the KBO.  The first one was the Gold Edition set that came out last winter.  There were 45-ish card team sets issued for the Doosan Bears and Samsung Lions last spring.  There were also two of the "Baseball's Best Player" sets issued - "Diamond Winners" last spring and "Forever Ace" last fall.


SumoMenkoMan said...

Great rundown! Kabaya did a 3-D lenticular multi-sport set in 1971 with 8 baseball players.

NPB Card Guy said...

D'oh! Yeah, I forgot that. I was thinking last night while I was writing this that there was another set but I was too lazy to look it up...

BTW I really like your new handle!

SumoMenkoMan said...

Thanks! I've actually used SumoMenkoMan for about 10 years in forums and several other places...I finally got around this holiday season to standardizing and updating my blog and Google Plus accounts with pictures and names.

The 1971 Kabaya cards do seem to be pretty rare and I've only seen the baseball checklist printed. I'm not sure of the entire set checklist.