What the crap are these?

I was digging through some older stuff in a binder marked “misc” and came across a set that gave me pause. I really don’t know what they are or what they are supposed to be. I have four cards and I am pretty sure that is the entire set. I say that with limited confidence.

The set is made by hobby giant Kalifornia Kardz, exactly. They were made in 1991 and have three different themes. Here is the first.
This is the least weird card of the bunch. The back explains when the Japanese All Stars played a round of exhibition games versus MLB teams the players picked the MVP from the American teams. Their choice was Ken Griffey. The back explains he hit .421 and earned the nickname “The Wonder Child”.

Now it starts to get a little weird.
They are titled “Japanese Free Agent Draft” the back explains that Japanese baseball team owners started a draft for future rights to MLB players. It says the owners decided getting big name MLB guys would be a good idea. I have no idea if Japanese baseball actually does this. It seems a little strange to hold a draft for guys that may not have any interest at all in playing for you. Anyway Bo Jackson was the #1 pick. I guess the owners didn’t really follow US baseball. Bo was an amazing athlete, good football player and an OK baseball player. Maybe they were big Nike fans.

Canseco was a much better choice. They didn’t say what pick he was but did say he would be huge in Japan.

The back of Bo’s cards has “Bo knows Yen” in Japanese. Very strange.

The final card changes games to basketball.
The back explains that the Japanese baseball writers were asked if they could have one player to join the Japanese national team who would it be? Their #1 choice? David Robinson. Really, not MJ?

A very strange set on many fronts. The design is so gaudy it almost comes around the other side to being cool. Almost. It is also strange that they removed the logo from Bo’s hat but not junior and Jose. My guess is they got lazy, there is no way they had an MLB license.



5 responses to “What the crap are these?

  1. These were promo cards that came out back in 1991 when every start up company with a PC, scanner, and printer decided to start making unlicensed crap to feed to the insatiable early 90s card collecting community’s appetite. KK popped up a couple times with a few other “gems” like the American Hero cards that featured Bo Jackson in a variety of comprimising poses including a Bo Knows Hockey card w/Gretzky and if I remember correctly, Bo in a Member’s Only jacket or something along those lines looking all Zack Morris-y.

    There is a Jordan to go with that Admiral card too. I actually have it as well as the Canseco. I remember picking it up along with one of Jose and Madonna that was pink and said “Truth or Dare” and a card with him and McGwire leaning on a car dressed as the Blues Brothers and having giant bats. My favorite line on the bottom of that Japanese monstrosity says something like (and I’m paraphrasing) “Jose would be considered like a God.” As kids, I think we all thought that.

  2. Yeah, what dogfacedgremlin said. These unlicensed overproduced wastes of paper provide some humor 20 years later. It’s sad to think these cards were worth serious bucks back then, though. The quality on some of these cards is better than what Score and Donruss were providing at the same time, though.

  3. I know unlicensed cards very well. https://mojobeardy.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/un-licensed-bliss/
    I don’t think they were ever worth serious bucks.

    • Well, maybe it was a Georgia thing. And I’m not talking major hit money, but some of them were selling for $10+ each. In 1991 that was a lot of money for a card. And I guess Georgians were dumb enough to buy them at that price.

      • Wow man. I just remember the buck a piece stuff. The early ’90s were such a crazy time I don’t doubt someone was laying down major coin for just about anything card related.

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