The first foreigner elected to Japan's Hall of Fame, Starffin was also the first pitcher to win 300 games in Japan Pro Baseball. His family escaped the Soviet Union in the early 1920s, settling in Japan in 1925. Shortly thereafter, his father
was convicted of murdering a young Russian woman. Starffin joined the All Japan team that faced Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig & Co. during the fabled 1934 U.S. All Star Tour of Japan. He also traveled to the U.S. in 1935 and 1936 with the
Yomiuri Giants, facing many American major and minor league teams. A Giants stalwart during the early years of Japan Pro Baseball, Starffin was forced to take the Japanese name Hiroshi Suda in 1940 to show his allegiance to Japan
during World War II. He was later accused of being a Russian spy, interrogated, placed under surveillance and eventually relocated to a detention camp.
After the war, Starffin acted as an interpreter for occupying forces and returned to Japan Pro Baseball. He retired after the 1955 season with 303 wins, a lifetime 2.09 ERA and two MVP awards. Marital problems supposedly drove Starffin
to drink, leading to his untimely death in a 1957 alcohol related auto accident. Starffin was only 41 years old when he died.
Victor Starffin signed the piece of paper offered here both in English and Japanese (katakana) using a fountain pen. The signatures are both quite large, with the English signature measuring 4" x 1 1/2".
Size: The item is 5" x 3 1/2".
Condition: The signatures grade 6 out of 10. There is a strip of white tape on the blank back resulting from the item's having been removed from a frame.