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:
- 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.
- 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.
Doosan Bears Autographed Ball
Dustin Nippert, Michael Bowden, Nick Evans
Player Autograph Event Ticket