This issue is rare, and it receives a well deserved scarcity factor of R5 in the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, Vintage Edition 2.1 by Gary Engel. This designation means that five or fewer copies of each card in the set are
known. The 1949 Bowman type card design, along with the extreme scarcity makes the the JF 72 set highly coveted among collectors.
Kikuchi Hirayama, an outfielder, joined the Yomiuri Giants in 1937. After several years as a soldier fighting in Burma during World War II, he returned to the Giants, where he stayed until 1949. Hirayama, an excellent fielder, who
often robbed opposing players of home runs with his leaping and wall-climbing catches, was known as the "Magician of the Fence". After a disagreement with Giants management, he moved to the Whales for the 1950 season. He remained
with the Whales until his retirement in 1953. In 1955 he was a passenger in a car driven by Japan Hall of Famer, Tetsuharu Kawakami, which was involved in a traffic accident. Hirayama suffered a laceration under his right eye in the
accident. The card offered here depicts Hirayama during his third season with the Whales.
Size: 1 7/8" x 2 3/8"