For most American collectors these issues are largely unknown, but it is a growing genre. Fans have started chasing cards of modern Japanese ballplayers like Ichiro, Tanaka and Darvish, and soon vintage cards will be all the rage.
Featured in this post are a couple of vintage Japanese issues featuring a couple of well known Dodger players currently available at Prestige Collectibles. This auction house specializes in vintage Japanese Baseball cards.
Do you recognize the fellow above?
Did you even know that he played in Japan for a year?
Shown here is a 1962 JCM 57b Maruya Menko card of Dodger great Don Newcombe and it is very scarce. According to some estimates only about 10 copies are thought to exist.
Don Newcombe joined the Chunichi Dragons on May 28, 1962 as a 36-year old 1st baseman and outfielder. I'll say that again, Newcombe did not sign as a pitcher in Japan; although he did start one game. Instead, he was a position player. Considering that he was one of the best hitting pitchers the game has ever seen, this should not be a surprise. In 81 games he batted .262/.316/.473 with 12 homers, 43 RBI's and 23 doubles in 279 at-bats. Not too shabby for an old guy, eh?
Below is a reverse of the card featuring what looks like a grip for a 2-seam fastball.
I just love this next item. It looks just like the Jackie Robinson comic released in America in 1950, but photo reversed. Check out a pic of my American versions here.
Featured here is a 1950 Jackie Robinson Japanese Edition Comic Book.
As the auction description states, it was originally distributed as an insert in the June 1950 issue of Chugakusei no Tomo (Middle School Friend) magazine. It has 32 pages within it. Check out some pics of the pages below.
One of these days I will scan the pages of the American version for all of you to see and enjoy. I just need to get off my rear-end and do it.
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