Saturday, June 22, 2024

Team Issued Cards

One of the things I've been on the lookout for as much as I can on my trips to Japan are team issued cards.  These aren't necessarily the cards that get issued with meals (although one set I'm going to talk about kinda are) but cards that the teams themselves publish (occasionally in collaboration with BBM or Epoch) that are either sold in the team stores or given away to fan club members.  Usually I have no idea how these cards get distributed but I actually do know for most of the ones I'm going to talk about in this post.  

We'll start off with some cards from the Marines.  I'd mentioned in my post about the bento box cards that the Lotteria stands at Chiba Marine Stadium give away oversized cards with certain hamburger meals.  Deanna and Steve let me know that this year all the food stands at the Stadium will give away a normal sized card IF you show your fan club card when you buy your meal (or if the concession stand worker just gives you one like she did me).  I ended up with three of these cards actually - one that I got when I bought my meal, one I found on the ground a little ways away from the Lotteria stand and one that Steve gave me in return for the Ogino Lotteria card I gave him (for the purposes of full disclosure - Steve gave me two cards but I gave Ryan one of them).  Here's all three cards:

Next up is the Hawks.  Ryan had two cards of Carter Stewart from last year that he had picked up for me.  Here's the fronts and backs of them:

If you look carefully on the card fronts, you'll see the cards are numbered "23SBH241" and "23SBH311".  I think this means that the cards came from the Hawks "2023 Season Vol.2" and "2023 Season Vol.3" sets.  The reason I think this is that I bought several packs of the Hawks "2024 Season Vol.1" packs out at Fukuoka Dome and those cards are numbered in a similar way.

We'll get to that in a moment.  First let me show you a photo of a pack of these:

I bought four packs of these before the Hawks game I went to in Fukuoka although I gave one of them to Ryan.  Each pack was 550 yen and contained six cards.  Each pack I got had the same distribution of cards - three gold bordered cards, one silver bordered card, one "normal" "Viva! Hawks!" card and one "kira" "Viva! Hawks!" card.  Looking at the back of the pack, it appears there are 69 total cards - 10 silver bordered cards (#24SBH101-#24SBH110), 30 gold bordered cards (#24SBH111-#24SBH140), 15 "Viva! Hawks!" cards (#24SBH141-#24SBH155) which have parallel "kira" versions and 14 autograph cards (#24SBH156-#24SBH169).  You can see that the format of the card numbers indicates that these cards are from the 2024 Vol.1 set.  I don't know if there is any overlap between the the players featured on the different types of cards - all I know is there isn't among the cards I have.

I got one duplicate card in the three packs so I have a total of 17 of these cards.  I'm only going to show one pack's worth of cards though:

It may not be visible in the scan but the Arihara card has a "kira" finish.

All the cards have the same back (although the color of the  text on the backs of the silver bordered cards is silver):

I also got some oddball Hawks items.  Ryan had given me three small (about 2 1/2 inch square) stickers with caricatures of Hawks players.  I don't know what year they are from but it must be between 2007 (Tamura's first year with the Hawks) and 2011 (Sugiuchi's last):

The backs indicate that they were some sort of promotion with the Hotto Motto fast food chain:

I was also given a slight smaller sticker of Tsuyoshi Wada when I did a tour of Fukuoka Dome:

Ryan and I checked out the Lions team store at Seibu Dome before the game we went to.  I had mentioned before that we had each bought a couple packs of the Lions "mini-shikishi" cards but we also each bought three packs of the "L Collection Vol. 1" set, the collaboration that the Lions have been doing with BBM the past few years.  I think these are physical versions of virtual cards available on the Lions mobile app (hence the "real" on the pack and the backs of the cards) but I could be wrong.  And I have no idea why the set is labeled "Vol. 1" when I don't think I've ever seen any "Vol. 2" cards.

The packs were 500 yen each and contained two cards.  I'm not sure how many cards there are total but I do know that the packs could contain autographed cards.  Here are the six cards I got (no autographs):

The card backs are all identical except for the card number in the lower right corner.  Here's the back of Matsui's card:

Here's what the pack wrapper looks like:

I stopped by the Lions store at Ikebukuro Station a few days later and discovered they were selling packs from some other card set.  There were only two packs left so I bought both of them.  They were a little pricey, 500 yen for only one card.  Here's a photo of the packs themselves:

They contained translucent plastic cards labeled "Seibu Blue Series".  Here are the two cards I got:

I wasn't entirely sure that these were from this year until I did a little detective work and discovered that Satoh didn't start wearing uniform number 10 until 2024.

The Eagles have been selling a pack based team set for years now.  In fact, most years they sell the set in two parts - 1st Version and 2nd Version.  There were packs of this year's 1st Version set available in the team store out at Miyagi Stadium:

I didn't buy any packs, however.  After the game I went to up in Sendai, I headed over to Mint Sendai in a shopping mall just west of Sendai Station where I found a lot of the team's cards from the past decade or so.  I was a little nervous about buying any older cards since I wanted to make sure I didn't buy any cards I already had but I felt pretty safe picking up cards from this year and the past two.  I won't show all the cards I got but just some of the highlights.  Here's some cards from 2022:

It's going to be pretty obvious that I like the team checklist cards.  Here's some cards from last year:

I came across some interesting insert cards from the 2023 set.  These were basically faux menko cards - while they were the standard size in height and width, they're much thicker, more like a piece of cardboard.  I think each card features an Eagles coach from their playing days with the team.  There's no English on the cards at all.  I have the cards of Tatsuya Shiokawa, Naoto Watanabe and Akihisa Makida:

The card backs include the "rock-paper-scissors" symbol like the traditional menko sets had.  All they need is some random number to look more authentic.  Here's the back of Makida's card:

This year, the Eagles started to collaborate with Epoch on their cards.  Here's a couple of the ones I got:

And lastly I picked up some Baystars team issued cards at Mint Yokohama.  Again, I was a little careful about what I bought since I didn't want to buy a card I already had.  I mostly concentrated on the past couple years although I did get a card from 2016.  Here are all the Baystars cards I got - it'll be pretty obvious on the front which year they're from:


Jason Presley said...

Love the action figure design on that Carter Stewart.

NPB Card Guy said...

And as you'd expect there's a whole subset in that particular Hawks team set with that theme - been finding listings on Mercari showing the other cards.