Many experts feel that Yutaka Enatsu was the best pitcher in Japan Pro Baseball history--even better than 400 game winner Masaichi Kaneda. In fact, he was the pitcher named to Japan's All Century Team in 2000. Enatsu spent the first half of his career as a starting pitcher, winning 20 or more games four times. In 1968, he struck out a world record 401 batters in a season. In a 1971 all star game, he fanned nine consecutive batters. His all star strikeout streak continued in subsequent all star games, ending at 15 consecutive Ks! Enatsu went on to be Japan's dominant relief pitcher for the final eight years of his 18 season career, winning five consecutive Fireman of the Year awards.
Despite all his success on the mound, Enatsu is not a member of the Japan Hall of Fame, and has never been invited to join the Golden Players Club. Unfortunately, his off-the-field activities often overshadowed his baseball excellence. He was tangentially involved in the Black Mist gambling scandal c. 1970. He smoked and drank heavily, consorted with gangsters and ultimately became addicted to narcotics. In 1993, he was sentenced to two years and four months in prison for drug possession. His exclusion from Japan's Hall of Fame is akin to the fate of Joe Jackson, Pete Rose and Barry Bonds in the U.S.
Yutaka Enatsu's cards and memorabilia are super popular with fans of Japan Pro Baseball. Possibly the holy grail of Enatsu collecting is the JGA 152 Shonen Book Trump card. While many Japan Pro Baseball greats have dozens of different rookie cards, Enatsu has only the one rookie card--and it is quite scarce. The Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, Vintage Edition 2.1 has awarded the JGA 152 set a scarcity factor of R4, signifying that ten or fewer copies of this card are known. This is your opportunity to own the only rookie card of one of Japan's all time great players, and one of the most intriguing as well.
Size: 1 15/16" x 3 1/16"
Condition: Ex/Mt to Nm. The white specks that appear on the card are a printing fault and are commonly seen on other examples of the card as well.