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

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