For a Hall of Famer, Sadao Kondo had a fairly unremarkable career as an active player. Over 12 seasons, Kondo, a pitcher, had a 55-71 won-lost record in only 1,239
innings. He did have one outstanding year, 1946, in which he won 23 games and had an ERA of 2.18 over 300 1/3 innings. Early in 1947, however, he badly injured his
middle finger. In 1948, after a trade to the Dragons, he did log 272 2/3 innings, but slipped to a dreadful 7-23 record. His career went mostly downhill from there. From
1981 to 1991, Kondo was a Japan Pro Baseball manager. While he did win a Central League pennant with the Dragons in 1981, his overall career managerial numbers
are not particularly impressive, as he had a lifetime .474 winning percentage. The reason Kondo is a Hall of Famer is that he was the first Japanese manager to divide
his pitching staff into starters and relievers. Until Kondo did this with the Dragons' pitchers, Japanese starters typically started and relieved. In fact, the team's top starter
was often also its closer!
Because of Kondo's unspectacular playing career, few cards were issued of him. In fact, only three cards depicting Kondo as an active player
are listed in the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, Vintage Edition 2.1. All three of these cards are scarce. This is one of two different Kondo cards found
in the 1947 JBR 73 set. It has a scarcity factor of R4, meaning that 10 or fewer examples are known. The closeup portrait offered here is the only known Kondo card
during his playing days in which his face can be seen clearly. If you are trying to collect at least one card of each Hall of Fame member, this card would fit nicely into
your collection, especially since this is the strongest example of this card that we have ever handled. Blank backed.
Size: Approximately 1 9/16" x 2 1/2"