Saturday, January 28, 2017

'99 Korea-Japan Super Games

I had been aware for while that there was an insert set in the 2000 Teleca KBO baseball card set for something called the "'99 Korea-Japan Super Games" but it wasn't until recently that I learned more about it.  Dan Skrezyna contacted me a few months ago about the set - he was trying to id a couple Japanese players in the set.  The fact that there were Japanese players in the set was a surprise to me, although I had an oddball card of Sadaharu Oh and Seung-Yeop Lee that appeared to be related to the set.  I was able to help Dan with a couple cards and I think Ralph Pearce provided the checklist information for the cards that Dan didn't have.  Dan has posted the complete checklist for the insert set over at The Trading Card Database.

I started looking around for more information on what the Korea-Japan Super Games were.  I didn't find anything in English, but both the Japanese Wikipedia and the Korean Wikipedia have pages on it.  To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and South Korea and the 10th Anniversary of the KBO, NPB and KBO announced that they would play a series of post-season games every four years, starting in 1991.  There were six games played in both 1991 and 1995 but only four played in 1999.  The series was discontinued afterwards.  I don't know the reason it stopped for sure but I suspect that it had something to do with a schedule conflict with the 2003 Asian Baseball Championship, which was a qualifier for the 2004 Olympics.  By 2007 the Asia Series was in its third season so the Super Games just kind of faded away.

Back to the cards.  There are 46 cards in the set.  I only have 12 of them - one that I had from the couple 2000 Teleca packs I opened years ago and the others I recently picked up from Justin, another KBO card collector living in Korea.  Many (if not most) of the cards in the set are essentially single cards of a particular KBO player:







There's a couple cards that show Japanese players pretty clearly - like this one of Jung-Tae Park with Toshihisa Nishi:

Card #KJ39 shows Seung-Yeop Lee batting against a Seibu Lions pitcher - looking at the linescores on the Wikipedia pages it's either Denney Tomori or Takashi Ishii.

There are a couple group shots taken at the ballparks.  This one shows (from left to right) Soo-Keun Jung, Seung-Yeop Lee, Jong-Beom Lee (a Korean player who was with the Dragons from 1998 to 2001), Ki-Tae Kim and Min-Tae Chung (who would play for the Yomiuri Giants in 2001-02):

This is the one I helped Dan out with - it shows (from left to right) Jae-Hong Park, Jung-Tae Park, Jong-Beom Lee, Koji Uehara and Toshihisa Nishi:

There's a couple cards with Hideki Matsui and a KBO player - one with Seung-Yeop Lee and the other with Joon-Hyuk Yang.  There's also another version of that Oh/Lee card.

There are also a couple cards that show some sort of off field awards ceremony with the players in street clothes.  This one shows Pil-Jung Jin:

This one has Seung-Yeop Lee and Min-Tae Chung on either side of some official:

I did a couple searches on YouTube and I found some videos from all three Series.  Here are highlights from the 1991 games - a little from Game One at the Tokyo Dome and a bit more from Game Five played in Gifu which was the only game the KBO team won that year.

Here's some footage from Game Two of the 1995 Games played in Yokohama Stadium:

Finally here's what I think is basically a condensed game from Game Three of the 1999 Games in Fukuoka Dome:

I would like to complete this set but I suspect it will be difficult.

1 comment:

Dan Skrezyna said...

Great write up! Thanks for the Japanese IDs and glad I can get the complete checklist list up. I'll watch the videos soon. Thanks for those!