14 May 2011

Random Japanese eBay Haul

     Occasionally, I'll just do random searches on eBay's Sports Cards and Memorabilia section for "japanese" and see what pops up. A few weeks ago I did that, caught a seller unloading a nifty assortment of random Japanese baseball goodness and put in a token minimum $.99 bid (+$4 S&H). About a week later, this is what turned up:

Three 1988 Calbee cards and six 1988 Calbee wrappers:

     The blurry one is card #117 of Rick Lancelotti. Until I saw this card, I don't think I'd ever seen a worse photo on a baseball card. And that includes some of the truly bad photos from some of those Venezuelan stickers I looked through while working on that earlier post. It really looks like a capture from a television screen. Or an actual photo of a television screen.

     The other two are #122, Toru Sugiura of the Yakult Swallows and #134 Shuji Fujimoto of the Nankai Hawks. 1988 Calbee were 2" x 2 5/8" or roughly the size of the Topps Leaders cards from 1986-1990, or your average Topps sticker from 1986-1990.

     Next in the package were three cards from the 1987 Amada Heat Sensitive Yomiuri Giants set, and what I'm assuming were the three packs they came in (mainly because the photo on the back of the pack matches the card of Kuwata, along with his signature):

#7 Sadaaki Yoshimura
#8 Tatsunori Hara
#18 Masumi Kuwata

     According to Gary Engel's Japanese Baseball Card Checklist and Price Guide, 7th Edition, these cards are intended for some sort of combination of baseball and paper/rock/scissors game. Holding a finger on the black boxes at the top reveal the outcome of some sort of play, and the bottom three circles reveal paper/rock/scissors symbols.  If you click on the scan of the back, you can faintly see the results under each heat-sensitive box. He also says there were three different cards of each of 9 players, for a total of 36 cards. The cards are 2 5/16" x 3 3/8", so they're slightly smaller than a standard card. The packaging is about 3 1/8" x 5 1/4", and has a puncture in the top, as if it had been displayed on a pegboard hook, instead of in a box.

     The last few items present something of a puzzle, as I can't find them listed in Mr. Engel's guide, and they are unlikely to be connected due to the large difference in size. There are three small (1 1/4" x 1 9/16") magnets of Yomiuri Giants players. Two of #6 Toshio Shinozuka and one of #45 Kaoru Okazaki. Help identifying these would be much appreciated.

     The remaining packages, I'm guessing, are not what the magnets were packaged in as they are 3 3/4" x 6 5/8", about 4 times the size of the magnets.  Though having said that, I notice the Shinozuka photo from the magnet in the middle is on the lower left of the back of the wrapper.  Who knows? 

     Since measurement numbers don't always correlate to an good visual of size, I scanned each of these cards next to a standard sized card for comparison.

04 May 2011

Hensley Meulens, truly a "rising" star!

    I first caught this story about a week or so ago, on a Dutch site, and didn't say anything because I thought it might just be a gag. Then I saw it repeated again today:

Bam-Bam's odyssey is truly out of this world

     Apparently, Bam Bam is headed for the final frontier, courtesy of Space Expedition Curaçao, a new space program supported by Curaçao's government.

Or you can read the original snippet in Dutch:

Retourtje ruimte voor Hensley Meulens

      Naturally, when I found this, I had to figure out which card or cards to attach to the post.  What better than his "Rising Star" issues from Score? 

      Starting in 1989, until 1992, Score released a 100 card set of Rising Stars, and a 100 card set of Superstars. The sets were sold in large, plastic blisters, along with a magazine-style book with slightly more thorough biographies of each player. Aside from super-hyped rookie Gregg Jefferies holding the #1 spot in the inaugural set, there wasn't any particular order to the card numbering.

      They were usually sold for $9.95-$12.95 almost anywhere baseball cards were sold. The 1989 issue was fairly popular, but as with the regular 1989 Score base cards, were so over-produced that supply far outpaced demand, and even today, these sets are very easy to find unopened, usually for less than $5 (plus shipping & handling).

      I'll go back and research the checklists, but Meulens has got to hold the record for most appearances in Score's Rising Star sets.  Had 1992 not been the final year of those sets, one has to wonder if he would have made a 5th appearance!

     In any case, I guess all that rising amounted to something after all.  Perhaps he will keep these specific cards in a pocket of his flight suit as he blasts off into space, thinking to himself how the Yankees had given up on him too soon.  Godspeed, Mr. Meulens!