16 October 2014

2007 Israel Baseball League Inaugural Season

    Begun in 2007,  the Israel Baseball League only survived a single season due to various (mostly financial) reasons.  However, the league still managed to produce a set of baseball cards.  Martin Abramowitz, the gentleman behind the Jewish Major Leaguers sets of baseball cards issued in the last 10 year or so, produced a 19-card set for the league to be sold at the ballparks.  The production was limited to 3,000 sets.

     The cards all have blue borders and feature the IBL logo on front and back.  Across 16 cards, 44 players are represented (of the 120 that played in the league), two or three to a card, and all of the managers are featured on a single card together.  The card backs are bilingual with all of the information in English at the top and Hebrew at the bottom.  The set should have come packaged with a magnifying glass as there is a lot of text on some of these cards, and cramming it on the back in two languages means extremely tiny type. The cards are standard sized and the sets are packaged shrink-wrapped in a 25-count plastic slider box. Card stock is fairly thin, but not as quite as thin as the Diving Ducks set from my previous post.  [source: JewishSportsCollectibles.com]   While the attributed website mentions the sets have sold out (at least from the original source) sets can still be readily had on eBay for $5, plus shipping.

    As with any of the sets Mr. Abramowitz issues, if Beckett hasn't posted a checklist in their system, you pretty much have to buy the set to figure out the checklist as he never releases them or posts them anywhere.  His sets all sell out in a year or three, so I don't think he has any plans to change that.  The checklists I was able to find for this set all just used the  brief titles on the fronts instead of actually listing the players.  The checklist is below.

NNO Cover Card / Story of the IBL
1 First-To-Sign (Dan Rootenberg / Adam Crabb / Dan Rothem)
2 Top Draft Picks (Aaron Levin / Noah Walker)
3 Top Israeli Prospects (Daniel Maddy-Weitzman / Shuki Friedman / Nate Rosenberg)
4 International Stars (Ryoji Kihara / Max Vasquez / Stewart Perez Brito)
5 College All-Stars (David Kramer / Seth Binder / Sam Faeder)
6 Pitching Prospects (Jason Benson / John Thew / Ben Pincus)
7 Around The Horn (Hector de los Santos / Willis Bumphus / Johnny Lopez)
8 Sparkling Shortstops (Brendan Rubenstein / Raul Franco)
9 Attention – Catchers (Juan Ramirez / Michael Olson)
10 Awesome Outfielders (Moko Moanoroa / Reynaldo Cruz)
11 Blue Sox Blasters (Sean Slaughter / Jason Rees / Gregg Raymundo)
12 Pioneers With Potential (Josh Epstein / Ryan Butkowsky / Aaron Rosdal)
13 Lightning Strikes Three Times (Aaron Pribble / Josh Matlow / Nate Fish)
14 Three Miracles (Matt Bennett / Andre Sternberg / Dan Drori)
15 Expressly For Ra'anana (Matthew Castillo / Josh Zumbrun / Donnie Mott)
16 Tough Tigers (Leon Feingold / Mike Kerfield / Justin Prinstein)
17 Managerial Mavens (Ken Holtzman / Ron Blomberg / Art Shamsky / Ami Baran / Steve Hertz / Shaun Smith)
18 League Leaders (Larry Baras / Daniel Kurtzer / Martin Berger / Dan Duquette)

   If you're interested in learning more about the Israel Baseball League, pitcher Aaron Pribble, of the Tel Aviv Lightning, wrote a book about his experiencs, "Pitching in the Promised Land: A Story of the First and Only Season in the Israel Baseball League".

    The number of countries, territories and what-have-you that have produced at least one set of baseball cards now stands at 16, listed below.

Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic
South Korea
The Netherlands

    If you know of a baseball card set produced by or for any other countries, please let me know!  Soon, I hope to have more information on the sets produced in Italy for the 2002 and 2003 seasons of the Italian Baseball League.

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