Lot # 29: 1949 JF 35e Asayama Gum--Cliff Melton San Francisco Seals--Rare

Category: Baseball Cards

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The JF 35e set carries an R5 designation in the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, Vintage Edition 2.1 by Gary Engel, signifying that five or fewer copies of this blank backed card are known. Actually, we know of only two examples at this time.

Cliff Melton, a native of North Carolina. was a strapping 6' 5" 200 pound lefthanded pitcher. He was a 20 game winner as a rookie for the New York Giants in 1937. In 1938, he asked his teammate, Carl Hubbell, to teach him the screwball. Arm problems began shortly thereafter for Melton, but he did go on to win 86 major league games for the Giants through 1944. In 1945, he was a holdout for the entire year, never coming to an agreement on salary with the Giants.

At that point, despite MLB's reserve clause, Melton was a free agent. Lefty O'Doul of the San Francisco Seals took a chance on the lefthander that paid dividends. Despite the fact that at age 37, Melton was nearing the end of a solid career, he went on to win 17 and 16 games for the Seals in 1947 and 1948. In 1949, he accompanied the Seals on their Tour of Japan, in honor of which this card was produced. The Seals sold Melton to the Kansas City Blues for the 1951 season where he was a teammate of a young Mickey Mantle. Thus, began a descent through the minors, each year in a lower league, until Melton finally retired in 1954.

Size: 1 1/16" x 1 7/16"

Condition: Good

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