Wakabayashi (d. 1965) and Tsuruoka (d. 2000) had become player managers by 1949. So had HOFer Shinji Hamazaki, the third person featured prominently in the picture. This photograph was taken during the East vs. West All Star
Series of 1949, as all three men are wearing the West uniform used only in 1949. Prior to that year, participants had worn their normal team uniform during the East vs. West games, with a large "E" or "W" attached to the back of the jersey,
covering the uniform number. This was to be the final East vs. West series, as the Central and Pacific Leagues were formed in 1950 and all future contests pitted the two leagues' stars against each other. While all three photo subjects had Hall of Fame
careers as players, only Tsuruoka also had an exemplary career as a manager, spending 23 years at the helm of the Nankai Hawks and piloting them to 11 Pacific League championships. Wakabayashi (left) and Tsuruoka (center) have
signed the photo in ink. At that time, Tsuruoka was using the surname of Yamamoto, and signed the photo using that name. Based on the autograph styles, both autographs appear to have been signed around 1949. Never before have
we had the opportunity to offer an autograph from either player during this era. Alas, Hamazaki passed away in 1981, so there is no opportunity to add his signature to the photo.
Size: 6 1/2" x 4 3/4"
Condition: Autographs--Tsuruoka 8.5, Wakabayashi 6.5. Photo--Four corner creases. Minor chipping mostly at the edges that does not affect the player portion of the image or the autographs. The image is sharp. The blank back contains ink
scribbling that appears to have been made with the pen that Tsuruoka used to sign his name on the front. Also, glue and extra paper on the back due to previous pasting of the photo in an album.