Saturday, April 6, 2019

2019 Panini USA Baseball Stars & Stripes Japanese Collegiate All Stars

A couple weeks ago Panini issued a set for USA Baseball called "Stars & Stripes".  Normally this isn't something I'd be paying much attention to but Panini included autograph and memorabilia cards for members of the 2018 Japanese Collegiate All Star team (specifically the one that took part in the Haarlem Baseball Week tournament that took place last July in the Netherlands) so the set turned out to be something I was interested in.  This is the second time that Panini has included autograph and/or memorabilia cards for a Japanese Collegiate All Star team (the first being in 2013) and the third time overall that a US manufacturer has done it (Upper Deck did it in 2007).  One big difference between these cards and those two previous sets is that the cards from the previous sets were either autograph cards or memorabilia cards while the new cards are both.

I've been putting off writing about this set until I got one of the cards from it.  It took eight tries on Ebay but I finally won a card the other day and it arrived in the mail today.  That's it at the top of the post.

I put together a list of the players in the set with their colleges, their year in college (my best guess anyway based on their age) and if they had been drafted.  Eight of the 24 players were taken in last fall's NPB draft including four players who were first round picks.  There were four other players who I think were seniors last year but weren't drafted - I don't know if they have gone to the independent or corporate leagues.

Name Position College School Year Year Drafted Team Round DOB
Ryosuke Aizawa Outfielder Meiji 4 N/A 9/26/1996
Hayata Fujino Catcher Rikkyo 3 N/A 1/7/1998
Hiromi Ito Pitcher Meiji Tomakomai Komazawa 3 N/A 8/31/1997
Yukiya Ito Infielder Rissho 4 2018 Baystars 2 8/30/1996
Shunya Iwaki Infielder Kyushu Sangyo 4 N/A 1/25/1997
Hiroshi Kaino Pitcher Toyo 4 2018 Hawks 1 11/16/1996
Daigo Kamikawabata Infielder Nihon 4 N/A 1/12/1997
Shoki Katsumata Infielder International Budo 3 N/A 7/20/1997
Ryosuke Kodama Infielder Kyushu Sangyo 3 N/A 7/10/1998
Wataru Matsumoto Pitcher Nittai  4 2018 Lions 1 11/28/1996
Masato Morishita Pitcher Meiji 3 N/A 8/25/1997
Motoki Mukoyama Outfielder Hosei 3 N/A 5/7/1997
Kento Ogo Pitcher Tokai 2 N/A 9/28/1998
Kazuya Ojima Pitcher Waseda 4 2018 Marines 3 7/7/1996
Teruaki Sato Infielder Kinki 2 N/A 3/13/1999
Toshiya Sato Catcher Toyo 3 N/A 1/27/1998
Noburo Shimizo Pitcher Kokugakuin 4 2018 Swallows 1 10/15/1996
Seiya Tanaka Pitcher Rikkyo 3 N/A 10/27/1997
Ryosuke Tatsumi Outfielder Ritsumeikan 4 2018 Eagles 1 12/27/1996
Yuma Tongu Catcher Ajia 4 2018 Buffaloes 2 11/17/1996
Yuki Tsumori Pitcher Tohoku Fukushi 3 N/A 1/21/1998
Takashi Umino Catcher Tokai 3 N/A 7/15/1997
Yoshiaki Watanabe Infielder Meiji 4 2018 Eagles 6 1/8/1997
Nagi Yonemitsu Infielder Nara Gakuen 4 N/A 1/9/1997

What's a bit bewildering about the set is that according to the checklist for the set in Beckett there are 10 different versions of each card!  What I have is the most common version - the Silhouettes Signatures Jerseys Prime version, each of which is numbered to 13.  There are five other versions of the Silhouettes Signatures cards - Jerseys (numbered to 5), "Gung Ho" patch (numbered to 4), "Samurai Japan" patch (numbered to 4), "Brand Logo Asics" (1 of 1) and "Samurai Japan Small" (1 of 1).  I found images of all but the "Samurai Japan Small" version on Ebay:


Gung Ho

Samurai Japan

The other four versions are "Signatures" (numbered to 4), "Prime Signatures" (numbered to 2), "Laundry Tag Signatures" (1 of 1) and "Buttons Signatures" (numbered to 7).  Again I was able to find images on Ebay for all but one of these ("Prime Signatures"):


Laundry Tag

You can see that despite having names like "Jersey" and "Signature", each card has both an autograph and a piece of memorabilia.  I like that the signatures are in kanji - they look better than the ones in English on the 2013 cards.

Here's what the back of the card I got looks like.  I'm kind of disappointed that unlike the 2013 Panini cards there's no biographical information about the player on these cards.


The set also contains similar cards for the Chinese Taipei Collegiate All Star team.  There was a Taiwanese team at the Haarlem Baseball Week tournament also but I don't know if this is that team.  Since I don't know anything about the CPBL I don't know if any of the players in the set have turned professional.

I probably won't seriously try to complete this set but I'll do what I've been doing with the 2013 set - pick up the cards when they are available for a reasonable price.  There were only 25 of each card from the 2013 set but if you take all 10 versions of each card into account there are 42 cards for each player in this set!


P-town Tom said...

I really like the Panini USA Baseball sets. It's kind of fun to get college/high school players in packs and see how they do in the next decade.

NPB Card Guy said...

I agree and I've thought about collecting them just for that reason.

Sean said...

Looking at that checklist reminds me both how awful the teams on national universities are and how awful the teams in the Nagoya region are - totally unrepresented!

That aside, I agree with the above comment, I wonder if any of those guys will go on to big things in NPB or MLB.

Fuji said...

These patches are unreal. Can't imagine how much these would go for if one of these guys becomes the next Ichiro.