Monday, March 13, 2017

Pack Break: 2011 Edition

There was a point in time (way back when this blog was still in it's draft stages in 2012) where I figured that my calling card would be a pack of cards. In some respects they are, but not the way I initially intended. You see, my original vision was to also send along packs of Japanese baseball cards with trade packages.

Like these Konami Baseball AllStar's cards from 2011.

Of course that idea flew out the window for obvious reasons. But I still had one pack left from back then.

These cards were issued by Konami as cards you bought physical copies of so you could use the codes on their back to play a virtual video game online. The gist of it is that these cards all have codes on the back so that you can unlock that player to use in the game. I think this is a pretty good idea that benefits the crowd that only wants the physical copies and the crowd that just wants the digital cards for the game. Topps Bunt should do something similar.

So anyway these packs came with two cards each (out of 252 cards total). It had 12 cards for managers, 12 "Great Player" cards, 12 "Super Player" cards, 36 "Star Player" cards, 84 regular cards that had black borders, and finally another 96 regular with white borders. As far as I can tell there aren't any parallels. But I could be wrong.

Obviously this pack won't yield any hits or those super low numbered parallels, but I figure it'd be a fun little break. I'm hoping for a Chunichi Dragons card (or two), seeing as how this is 2011 there's also the possibility of future big leaguers like Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, Kenta Maeda, Munenori Kawasaki, Hisashi Iwakuma and Norichika Aoki.

Right, let's open it!

The head of the welcoming committee was this play guide that gave you instructions on how to play the game. Basically how to access the game from your computer or phone, all the way to competing for the pennant title.

The back featured some tips for beginners like how players can level up their skills in the game, how manager cards can make a difference, and how certain player combinations work better than others.

Well that was interesting, now onto the actual meat of this pack.

Here we have Chiba Lotte Marines outfielder Yoshifumi Okada and what's probably a regular card with a white border.

Okada was drafted by the Marines back in 2008 as an amateur and has been with the club for nearly a decade now. Okada made his debut with the big leagues Marines in 2010 so this card was when he was in his sophomore season of big league NPB ball.

Here's the back. Lots of stats and graphs and a little bio too. You can see the code used for the game on the bottom, and QR code if you're lazy and using a phone.

The stats also reflect Okada's profile as a player. Okada's known for his glove work and his speed. Both of which got a five and six rating on the card respectively. Although some would probably say his power level is a zero or one rather than a two. Apparently Okada set a record for most consecutive at-bats as a professional at the top NPB level without having a home run with 1,773 at-bats. That said, he can still manage to run his way to first base via bunting or bloop singles.

Our second card was a "Star Player Card" of former NPB outfielder Hitoshi Tamura.

Tamura was originally drafted by the Yokohama BayStars (his local team)  in the fourth round of the 1994 NPB Player Draft. Tamura made his ichigun NPB debut with the BayStars in 1996 and spent a eleven seasons with the BayStars. He made his presence known during the second half of his first stint with the BayStars when he hit 40 dingers in 2004. Due to his team's lack of any real success he was traded to the SoftBank Hawks in 2006 and spent six seasons with the black and yellow before returning to the BayStars in 2013 and giving it three more seasons. Tamura tried one last comeback in 2016 with the Chunichi Dragons but injuries dashed those hopes. Tamura now works as a broadcaster for baseball games.

Here's the back. Over course Tamura was given a seven score for his power and an eight for his contact skills.

For whatever it's worth Tamura did consider giving the big leagues a try back in 2010 (after all, he had power for a Japanese player) but he decided to stay with the Hawks instead. I suppose one would wonder how he'd fare in the big leagues, my guess is that he'd carve out a career that's (at best) Tadahito Iguchi and at worst Kensuke Tanaka.

Anyway that was my NPB pack break from 2011. This was fun and I'll look into doing more at a later time.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).


  1. Only two player cards in one pack? That's a bummer.

    1. Yeah, but it's a fun cheap retro-ish break.

  2. I'm sure a good bit of the Japanese players could carve out careers here. It is just hard paying those posting fees.

    1. I think it's more like coming to terms with traveling to a different country and different culture. It's not easy.

  3. I busted a bunch of this stuff... and attempted to build this set. I down to needing only 43 or 44 of the cards. Not sure I'll ever actually complete it... but it's a cool set.

    1. If you need these two I'm open to trading for Dragons.