Friday, January 20, 2017

2016 EPOCH Central League Baseball Card Gum

During my vacation in Japan I completed two sets. One will be the topic of a future post, the other is a team set from what I thought was a neat product.

The Japanese baseball card company EPOCH released a series of baseball cards along with gum in 2016.

Each pack came with one card and one piece of gum. The gum is made by the Japanese food company Kabaya. Much like American gum the flavor was great but it only lasted for five seconds.

Anyway this set was made to commemorate the 36 best players in the Central League in the NPB. With six players per team and one "rare version" (i.e. short print) among them.

The six teams in the Central League are the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Yomiuri Giants, Hanshin Tigers, Hiroshima Carp, Chunichi Dragons and the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

Across the various stores I went to, a full completed set of this were sold for roughly $50 (5000 yen). A big reason for that is that Hiroki Kuroda (BIG HIROK) was one of the short prints and pretty much every store had it priced at like $20 (2000 yen). Add in how the SPs for the Giants and Tigers were Hayato Sakamoto and Shintaro Fujinami respectively and that's like another $10. Meaning the rest of the set costs like $20 lol.

I didn't feel like getting the full set or forking over money to buy two boxes worth of this stuff. So instead I bought a bunch of packs and a few singles to complete a team set.

I did spend like $15 on a bunch of loose packs (each pack was usually like 108 yen or roughly $1).

Of course I completed the Chunichi Dragons team set.

This set looks really nice in person. Dazzling actually.
These look quite pretty when they're scanned to boot. The shiny backdrop really adds to the silver facsimile signatures.

The backs feature the essentials like the names and personal info, as well as the player's 2015 stats and career stats. And with a little bit of information about the player below the stats.

The six Dragons players in this team set were:

*Yudai Ohno
*Shunta Wakamatsu
*Masahiro Araki
*Masahiko Morino
*Ryosuke Hirata
*Yohei Ohshima

Yudai Ohno is a guy I really like because his name is great for puns. He's also the Dragons ace and in the running to be the Dragons' Opening Day pitcher this upcoming season.

Shunta Wakamatsu had a really promising 2015 but he took a step back in 2016. This season he's eying major improvement in his pitching. Armed with a fastball that sits in the 87-89 mph range, a curveball, slider and a forkball, he could very well turn into a solid innings eater for the Dragons going forward.

Masahiro Araki has been on the team for over 20 years since being taken in the first round of the 1995 draft. Araki currently has 1961 career NPB hits and one of the fun things Dragons fans will be looking forward to is Araki's chase for number 2000 (the Dragons gift shop even sold items to help fans count down to Araki's 2000th hit).

Masahiko Morino, to me, is Mr. Chunichi. I have a whole post about him in the works so I'll keep this blurb short.

Ryosuke Hirata has been with the Dragons for nearly a decade and he's looked at as the veteran presence a lot of younger Dragons hitters look to for advice. Hirata is the short print in the Dragons checklist for the record.

Yohei Ohshima has found himself entrusted to be at the top of the lineup more in recent years. He's also noted for his glove work as he has four career NPB Golden Glove awards to his name.

And those were the Dragons in the 2016 EPOCH Central League Baseball Card Gum set. A fun product I'm glad was there since Calbee hadn't been released yet during my stay.

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


  1. Do all the cards have the same color scheme on the front or did they tint them differently to match each team's color scheme?
    Also, I'm glad to know there's a company out there that can make a set and evenly distribute the cards among all of the teams. You know, instead of a certain company giving the Cubs 10+ cards in a set and Brewers only 2.

    1. Ooh great question Tom, the latter is correct in that the cards all are tinted to match the teams' color scheme. So the Giants are orange, the Tigers are yellow, the Swallows are blue, the BayStars are a different shade of blue, the Dragons are a different shade of blue and the Carp are red.
      And I agree, I love how the teams all got equal treatment.

  2. Shiny! Those look really nice. Do they make any MLB cards with a similar look?

    1. I don't think so. The MLB license is far too costly (read: overpriced).

  3. That's about as nice a design as I've seen, somehow flashy and simple at the same time.

    1. I agree. I think part of the appeal of this set (for me) was how nice the cards look.

  4. $1 for a piece of gum and one card? That's one high-end set. It's a good thing it's a solid design. I just hope that gum was super delicious too.

    1. EPOCH has lately been going the high-end route so it makes sense. The gum was indeed super delicious, for like five seconds (taking a page out of the Wrigley gum rulebook).