Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Cans of Coffee that Come with Baseball Players Attached are Best Cans of Coffee

I made another great discovery at the second hand shop that sells Pokémon figures which I get for my kids.  More baseball figures!

These are from a specific set: the Georgia Pro Yakyu Suketto Gaikokujin set, which translates into the somewhat awkward and maybe a little offensive English title "Georgia Pro Baseball Foreigner Helper Set".

These are one of the things I used to love about living in Japan in the 2000s and early 2010s: free high quality stuff with canned beverages.  These were released in 2012 and came with cans of Georgia coffee.

In Japan, coffee comes in cans, like soft drinks.  People often drink it cold, and you can get them out of vending machines or from fridges in convenience stores.  Tommy Lee Jones is famous here mainly for the surreal ads he used to appear in for canned coffee, like this one:

Back in 2012 if you bought a can of Georgia Coffee you'd get one out of 8 figures of famous foreign ballplayers.  They came in little orange bags attached directly to the cans, you can see a contemporary blog post of what they looked like here.

I was living in Japan in 2012 but wasn't aware of this promotion at the time, probably because I'm not a canned coffee drinker (I am a major coffee drinker, just not from cans).  It used to be really common for drink makers to attach little toys to their products to encourage people to buy them and I used to get really excited about them.  In the early 2000s I remember Pepsi did this quite a bit with various tie ins (Star Wars figures, Gundam figures, model cars, etc - really good stuff considering it was free with a bottle that only cost like 140 Yen).   Since the early 2010s they've become way less common, possibly because they were so expensive to run, which is a shame.

Anyway, I found these figures at the second hand shop for 100 Yen (about 1$ US) each and decided to buy the three they had, featuring Boomer Wells, Warren Cromartie and Brad "Animal" Lesley.

Cromartie is featured just after completing a swing:

Animal is doing his thing:

And Boomer looks like he is about to hit a long ball.

The checklist is pretty good.  The set features:

Boomer Wells
Warren Cromartie
Animal Lesley
Bobby Rose
Randy Bass
Alonzo Powell
Ralph Bryant
Orestes Destrade

In addition to the figure you also got a little full color booklet featuring your player on the cover and an illustrated checklist of the set inside.

That is pretty insane value for the 130 Yen (about $1.20 US) that each of these cans of coffee cost.  And you got coffee with it too.
I was so enamored with these that I went on Yahoo Auctions last night and tracked down the other five that I needed for the set and bought them.  So when they arrive in the mail I'll have the whole thing.

I'm not a huge fan of figurines in general, but these little ones featuring charicatures of the players (rather than attempts at more realistic depictions of them) have really caught my fancy.  They are just"cute"  I guess is the word I am looking for.  Which isn't a feature I normally weight highly in making baseball collectible purchase decisions but with these (and my earlier Hanshin Tigers purchase) I think that is exactly what attracts me to them (as well as my being a fan of the players themselves of course).  Their small size also helps since they don't take up much space.

Georgia also released another similar set of baseball figures in 2006 featuring stars of the 1980s (not limited to foreigners) which I think I'm also going to go after.  If I get it, I'll do a post about them too!


  1. If I wasn't already addicted to coffee... I would be if I had access to these cans with figures.

    1. These types of promotions are almost dangerous to your health. I remember in 2002 when Japan hosted the World Cup (along with South Korea) Coke had a promo like this giving out soccer player figures (with representatives from every country) with each 500ml bottle. I drank so much coke that year trying to complete the set it probably knocked 6 months off my life expectancy!

  2. Japan's canned coffee game even without the fun bonus promos is elite.

  3. I've got some of the cards Georgia did with BBM in 2010. They're kind of cool. I should get some of these figurines sometime too.

    1. I think I remember you looking at some of them when we visited the card shops in Nagoya!

      I can get these pretty easily, in fact I got doubles of a couple of them (Cromartie and Animal), I'll send them to you when Japan Post starts accepting SAL again.

    2. Yeah, I think I got some at Mint Ponyland. And thanks in advance on the figurines!

  4. I can picture a couple of young collectors hanging around the coffee vending machines, waiting for someone to buy a can of coffee so they could say, "Hey mister, can I have that baseball figure?"

    1. Ha, just like the kids 100 years ago bugging grown ups for their tobacco cards!

  5. I found your blog today and am looking forward to reading more. I happen to have Boomer Wells on my blog today also.

    1. Ha, small world! Great blog, I've added it to my roll!

  6. This post inspired me to buy a set of these as well. Thank you!

  7. Cold coffee in a can is my favorite. Ahhh, the memories. Love the poses you have for these guess. Getting them out and about in the quarantine.

    1. One of those things you only get in Japan (maybe Korea too? Not sure).

      And thanks, I like to mix in some "on location" photos on the blog, just putting up scans of cards gets a bit monotonous!