Yoshio Yoshida of the Tigers and Tatsuro Hirooka of the Giants were generally considered to be the best shortstops of the 1950s and 1960s. The diminutive (5' 5", 123 lb.) Yoshida's acrobatic defense dazzled onlookers, and he became
the premier defensive shortstop by whom all others would be judged. He also had exceptional speed and was a decent contact hitter. However, he's in the Hall of Fame because of his fielding prowess. After his career as an active player
(1953-1969) ended, he served three stints as Tigers manager.
Tatsuro Hirooka was Central League Rookie of the Year in 1954, batting .315 with 15 homers. However, it was his only outstanding year as a batter. In fact, he finished with a
lifetime batting average of only .240. However, he was selected to six Central League All Star teams due to his glovework. Known as the Iron Shogun, Hirooka also had a very successful career as a manager, leading both the Swallows
and Lions to titles.
JCM 136 is one of the more seldom seen tobacco menko sets of the era. Not only are the cards offered here, especially the Hirooka card, in top condition, but there is no extra paper or glue on the back from previous attachment to a display sheet. Apparently, these
cards never made it to a display sheet, or were cut from a first prize sheet many years ago. Based on the appearance of the borders, we suspect that they were simply destined for the display, but were never circulated.
Size: Each card is 1 13/16" x 3". The uncut pair is 3 5/8" x 3".
Condition: The white borders and images on the front retain their original luster as if the cards were just printed. Corners and borders are sharp. The Hirooka card would be Nm/Mt or better if the cards were separated. The Yoshida card
has a difficult-to-see surface crease in the upper left corner.