Tuesday, January 3, 2023

2022 In Review - Calbee

Calbee celebrated their 50th year of publishing baseball cards by pretty much doing what they've been doing every year since 2004.  They issued their flagship set in their usual three Series in 2022 with Series One coming out in March, Series Two in June and Series Three in September.  

Each Series contained 72 "regular" player cards (six per team) plus a subset (Series One had a 19 card "Title Holder" subset, Series Two had a 12 card "OBP Leader" subset and Series Three had a 12 card "Exciting Scene" subset) and four checklist cards.  Add them all together and you get a 271 card base set - 216 "regular" player cards, 43 subset cards and twelve checklists.  There were also three insert sets - 75 "Star" cards distributed across all three Series (cards S-01 to S-24 in Series One, S-25 to S-49 in Series Two and S-50 to S-73 in Series Three), four "Legend" cards featuring players who retired at the end of 2021 and 25 "Reprint" cards.  The "Reprint" cards were the sole thing that Calbee did to celebrate their 50th Anniversary - they reprinted old Calbee cards of Shigeo Nagashima, Sadaharu Oh, all the managers (except Tsuyoshi Shinjyo) and a retired player from each team.  Additionally there was a limited edition 12 card box set associated with each Series that could only be purchased through Calbee's Amazon.co.jp store.  The sets were "Clutch Hitter" for Series One, "Opening Pitcher" for Series Two and "HR Leader" for Series Three.

If you've read my posts about the three Series this year then you've seen that I felt Calbee kind of phoned it in this year, at least when it came to the photo selection on their "regular" player cards.  One thing I was happy about with this year's set is they greatly reduced the number of players who have multiple "regular" cards.  There was only six this year which means there were 210 unique players in the set.  As usaul there's a handful of players who have subset cards but not "regular" player cards.  The biggest name of this group is Munetaka Murakami, who had a "Title Holder" card and a "OBP Leader" card but nothing else.  Masataka Yoshida ("Title Holder" and "OBP Leader") and Kazuma Okamoto ("Title Holder" and "Exciting Scene") are also in this same boat.

I had hopes that Calbee would release a Samurai Japan set in the fall for the Gold Medal winning team from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.  Not only did Calbee not release a set but it looks like they no longer have the license for the team.

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