Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2017 WBC: Team Korea (Tentative)

On November 10, 2016, the tentative roster for team Korea was announced for the 2017 WBC (World Baseball Classic). Here is a look at some of the KBO cards for most of the players. There are a few players (Rhee Dae-eun, Lee Dae-ho, Choo Shin-soo) that are not shown here because the do not have and have not had any KBO cards produced. They were all playing in the MiLB, NPB, or MLB during the time that the 2014 Super Star Baseball cards were first produced.


 Chang Won-jun (Doosan)

Lee Hyun-seung (Doosan)

Lee Yong-chan (Doosan) - No Card in My Collection

Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA)

 Lim Chang-yong (KIA)

Woo Kyu-min (LG)

 Lim Jung-woo (LG)

Kim Kwang-hyun (SK)

 Park Hee-soo (SK)

Cha Woo-chan (Samsung)

Won Jong-hyun (NC)

Chang Si-hwan (KT)

Rhee Dae-eun (Chiba Lotte Marines) - No Card in My Collection


Yang Eui-ji (Doosan)

Kang Min-ho (Lotte)

First basemen

Kim Tae-kyun (Hanhwa)

Lee Dae-ho (Seattle Mariners) - No Card in My Collection

Second basemen

Jeong Keun-woo (Hanhwa)

Seo Geon-chang (Nexen)

Third basemen

Hur Kyoung-min (Doosan)

Park Sok-min (NC)


Kim Jae Ho (Doosan)

Kang Jung-ho (Pittsburgh Pirates)


Min Byung-hun (Doosan)

Lee Yong-kyu (Hanhwa)

Choi Hyong-woo (Samsung)

Choo Shin-soo (Texas Rangers)

Kim Hyun-soo (Baltimore Orioles)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lee Byung-gyu: The Final Game

On October 8, 2016, the LG Twins faced the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Stadium (the home stadium for both teams) in the final regular season game of the year. In front of a sellout crowd, Doosan put on a show by using 2 of their premier starting pitchers, Michael Bowden and Dustin Nippert, in the same game. In the end, the final score was 11-1 in favor of Doosan. However, that didn't dampen the spirits of the LG fans that day.

When I first arrived at the stadium, I was greeted by a crowd of LG and Doosan fans lined up in order to try to pick up their reserved tickets or purchase any ticket that may have been a cancellation.

Trying to Get Their Tickets

I didn't originally get a ticket for that game because they all sold out within minutes of hitting the internet. I was lucky though because a Korean friend was able to find 2 tickets for me on the day of the game. Otherwise I would have been left watching the game on TV at one of the many pubs and restaurants just down the street from the stadium at Sincheon.

As I was making my way around the stadium and chatting with different people, all of the buzz for the LG fans was that Lee Byung-gyu had been put on the line-up card for the day and he would get a chance to appear in the game. He hadn't had a plate appearance in the KBO league for the entire season. He spent most of the season playing with the Twins KBO Futures League team so LG fans were excited to see him back in "the show" for the final game of the season.

 Inside of the Stadium

A lot of fans were saying that they knew it would be his last game before retirement so they wouldn't miss the game for anything. In the end, he ended up getting a single off of Nippert in his final KBO at bat. The fans were cheering their hearts out for him and you could really feel something special in the air. There were even Doosan fans that were cheering for him because they knew how special he had been to the Twins and the KBO over the years.
Me and My Brothers
Han Jae-kwan (Doosan Head Cheerleader) and Byeong-su

In honor of Lee Byung-gyu and his accomplishments, here are some of his cards from the Super Star Baseball and Baseball's Best cards from 2014-2015.

Card of the Week (Week 3)

Last week, Choi Hyoung-woo, a free agent with the Samsung Lions, signed a record breaking deal with the KIA Tigers. He became the first player in KBO history to sign a deal worth more than 10 billion won. In the 2016 season he won the batting title (0.376 avg.) and the RBI title (144 RBI).

 Choi Hyoung-woo

Friday, November 25, 2016

Where are the Foreign Players?

While there are and have been multiple foreigners in the league since the introduction of the 2014 Super Star Baseball Cards and 2015 Baseball's Best Cards, none of them have appeared on any of the cards. What is the reason for this? While I'm not completely sure, I have a few guesses.

Back in the late 1990's and early 2000's there were foreigners in the KBO and they appeared on some of the cards that were produced during that time. I don't have any of these cards in my collection since I am only working on the most recent sets at the moment. However, I have seen some of these cards a few times in the past and you can check out more information about some of them on the blog Korean Cardboard.

Now, back to the original reason for this post. Why are there no current foreign players on Super Star Baseball and Baseball's Best cards?

Here are a couple of my guesses:
  1. It's common practice for card companies to sign contracts with players and teams in order to put them on cards. While I'm not sure if this is the common practice in Korea, I assume that it is since card companies are making money off of the images of the players and teams. My guess is that current card companies have shown no interest in offering contracts to the foreign players or maybe the contracts are just not lucrative enough for the foreigners to want to sign them.
  2. Another reason may be the high turnover of foreigners in the league and the limitations of their actual KBO contracts. It's fairly common for teams in Korea to pick up 1 or 2 new foreign players every year since KBO rules regarding foreigners do not allow foreigners to sign a contract that is longer than 1 year in length. Because of this, it's common to see foreign players released during the season or at the end of their 1 year contract if they fail to produce the expected results. According to this article, it's cheaper for teams to pick up a foreigner and get rid of them than it is to pick up a Korean free agent. Because of this you can understand why there may be no interest in putting them on the cards. Card companies just don't expect to see them stay in the league, minus a few exceptions such as Dustin Nippert of the Doosan Bears.
Until Super Star Baseball Cards or Baseball's Best decide to start putting foreign players on their cards, fans will just have to stick with collecting their autographs, jerseys, or other memorabilia produced with foreign players on it. Hopefully sooner than later we will start to see foreign players in the new Korean sets. It would be sweet to get a Dustin Nippert 2016 KBO MVP card next year.

Doosan Bears Autographed Ball
Dustin Nippert, Michael Bowden, Nick Evans

Player Autograph Event Ticket

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday

This week I am going back to 2015 and Hwang Jae-gyun (황재균) of the Lotte Giants. In 2015, he won the KBO All Star Home Run Derby at KT Wiz Park (KT위즈 파크)in Suwon. You can check out the video below. This is a bit of a tribute to his accomplishment then and best of luck to him possibly making a MLB roster next year. He is currently in Florida doing some workouts for some MLB scouts. Best of luck to you!

2016 Baseball's Best (PA02-LO001)

2015 Home Run Derby Champion Video

Farewell Hong Sung-heon!

It was just released that Hong Sung-heon (홍성흔) of the Doosan Bears is retiring after 18 years in the KBO. He was a catcher for the the first part of his career and he was later switched to a DH. While he didn't play much during the most recent season, he definitely made an impact over the years. He played most of his career with Doosan, but he also had a 4 year run with the Lotte Giants.

During his career, he won Rookie of the Year in 1999 and 3 Gold Gloves (2 as a catcher and 1 as a DH). He managed to end his career with a .301 batting average, 2,046 hits, 208 home runs, and 1,120 RBI. He was also well known for his awesome bat flips.

In his honor, here are a few of his KBO cards.

2016 Baseball's Best (PA02-DO002)

2014 Super Star Baseball (SBC02-015)

2016 Doosan Team Set (SBC16DO-003-BS)

2015 Super Star Baseball Season 1 (SBC1501-126-N)

You can check out some of his awesome bat flips below and read about him talking about his bat flips in this article for ESPN.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Card of the Week (Week 2)

This week I decided to go with a card of a player that I enjoy watching, Na Ji-wan (나지완) of the KIA Tigers. Na Ji-wan is always good for a laugh since he is a bit of a "bad boy" of the league. On a side note, Na Ji-wan was on the free agent list until November 17, 2016 when he signed a new 4 year contract to remain with KIA.

Na Ji-wan

You can check out a video of him being the first player in the KBO to hit the roof of the newly opened Gocheok Sky Dome (고척스카이돔). Everybody was a bit confused about what had happened because they didn't know if it should have been ruled fair and a ground rule double or if it should have been ruled foul. You see a couple of the umpires making different calls. The umpire at 3rd called it fair and the umpire at 2nd called it foul. After the replay it was ruled fair and a double.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Different Day, Same Cards

I was recently emailing another collector, that I met via his blog, when I thought about something funny regarding some of my past purchases. I have only been collecting KBO cards for about 2 months, but I have gotten a decent collection started because I have been buying a few boxes per week.

Anyway, we were talking a bit about collecting parallels and inserts from sets and I thought about 2 boxes that I bought at different times. One of my first purchases was a box of 2015-16 Super Star Baseball Gold Edition. I noticed, when opening the box, that the 2015-16 Gold Edition Boxes are numbered to 5,000. The first box I ever opened was numbered 467 / 5,000. I pulled a lot of parallels from the box (probably more parallel than the normal card) and a Park Yong-taik numbered record card (237 / 500).

2015-16 Super Star Baseball Gold Edition Box

About a month later, I purchased 2 more boxes from the same place. Before opening them, I looked at the box numbers and realized that one of the boxes was numbered 468 / 5,000 (the next in line after my first box). When I opened it I though something else seemed familiar and it was. I was getting the same cards from this box that I had gotten from my first box. I even got the same Park Yong-taik (박용택) numbered card (238 / 500) and it was sequential to the 1st one that I pulled. Let me know if you are interested in picking up the Park Yong-taik duplicate and we can work a trade.

Park Yong-taik Super Star Duplicates

I wonder if this is something that is common with the Gold Edition Boxes? If so, I hope I don't get the same boxes sequentially numbered unless I pull some really sweet cards from the first one. By the way, the 3rd box that wasn't sequential to the others had a nice dual patch card of Lee Bum-ho (이범호) and Yang Hyeon-jong (양현종), both of the KIA Tigers. I wouldn't mind getting a few boxes like that with sequentially numbered autos or patches.

Lee Bum-ho and Yang Hyeon-jong Dual Patch Card

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Over the years the KBO has gone from 3 teams to 10 teams. During that time there have been many changes and alternates of jerseys created for the teams. These "throwbacks" or "alternates" are worn for special events and games.

Without further ado, let's take a look at a "alternate" card from my collection.

This card from 2015 KBO Baseball's Best (Series 1) features Kim Min-woo (김민우) wearing KIA's "Love Together" jersey.  The "Love Together" jerseys are part of a social contribution event that KIA runs every year. Through the events, funds are raised to support local children.

This card number is PA01-K1002 and it's a Gold Kira insert from the set.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Baseball's Best (야9짱) Series 1, 2, & 3 Box Break

Baseball's Best just released their series 3 at the beginning of November. I have seen the Baseball's Best boxes around for a while but I have never bought a box until this week. I have opened a few packs of series 1 and 2 that I got as free gifts in my internet orders.

All 3 sets follow the same format with a base set of 100 cards (10 cards per team x 10 teams) and 4 sets of rare cards that each have 10 cards per set (1 rare card per team). The total number of cards to complete each series set (base plus rare) comes to 140 cards and you are supposed to get 160 cards per box (20 packs x 8 cards). However, I have never gotten a full 160 cards per box, but I have been able to complete a couple of the base sets (series 2 and 3) with a purchase of only 1 box. I was unlucky with my series 1 box and ended up 3 shy of the complete base set.

Anyway, I decided to pick up a box of each series and I got them yesterday. Here is a breakdown of what I got from each box.

Series 1

Normal Cards: 137 cards (40 duplicates)
Kira Cards: 10 cards (2 duplicates)
Kira Gold Cards: 5 cards (no duplicates)
Gold Signature Cards: 4 cards (no duplicates)
Clear Cards: 1 card (no duplicates)

Total: 157 cards (3 shy of a full box and 3 normal cards shy of a full base set)

Series 2

Normal Cards: 139 cards (39 duplicates)
Kira Cards: 10 cards (2 duplicates)
Kira Gold Cards: 5 cards (no duplicates)
Gold Signature Cards: 4 cards (1 duplicate)
Clear Cards: 1 card (no duplicates)

Total: 159 cards (1 shy of a full box but a complete normal base set)

Series 3

Normal Cards: 139 cards (39 duplicates)
Kira Cards: 10 cards (2 duplicates)
Kira Gold Cards: 5 cards (no duplicates)
Gold Signature Cards: 4 cards (no duplicates)
Clear Cards: 1 card (no duplicates)

Total: 159 cards (1 shy of a full box but a complete normal base set)

It pretty much looks like you will usually be able to pick up the full normal base set with the purchase of 1 box (unless you get a box like I got). The breakdown appears to be between 137 and 139 normal cards per box, 10 Kira cards per box, 5 Kira Gold cards per box, 4 Gold Signature cards per box, and 1 Clear card per box.

I would say that they are a decent value (around 15,000 ~ 20,000 won per box) to be able to usually get a complete set of normal cards per box. However, trades or multi-box purchases will be required to complete full sets of normal cards plus rare cards.

You can take a look at the cards that I need to complete my sets here. Just let me know if you have any of them and we can try to work some deals.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Card of the Week (Week 1)

The Korean Series just ended a couple of weeks ago with my favorite team, the Doosan Bears, claiming their second title in a row. Honestly, I was happy with the outcome of the series, but I was a little disappointed with the quality of the series. Doosan's opponent, the NC Dinos, only put up 2 runs in four games and dropped the series in a four game sweep. Given the difficulty of actually getting tickets (a lot of tickets were sold to employees of the companies that own the baseball clubs) and the fact that I was able to get tickets to games 1, 2, and 6, I was hoping to see the series go for 6 games and see a Doosan win at home. Instead I had to watch a game 4 win at my apartment with Doosan playing at the other end of Korea.

Anyway, without further ado, I would like to share my first card of "card of the week." This one is in honor of the Korean Series MVP, Yang Eui-ji (양의지). During the series, Yang Eui-ji batted .438 with 1 home run, 3 doubles, and 4 RBI. He also did an excellent job behind the plate.

This card is Yang Eui-ji's "Big Star" card from the 2015 Superstar Baseball Card (Season 1) set. The card number is SBC1501-052-BS.