First prize card premiums, originally part of display sheets, were awarded to bearers of regular edition cards in the associated set that had a number "1" stamped on the blank back by the set's manufacturer. While we are nearly certain that this card was associated with one of the JBR 51 or JBR 52 sets, issued in 1949 and 1950, we are uncertain as to precisely which set included this first prize card.
The card is colorized from a black & white photo. As such, parts of the uniform trim display incorrect colors. In any case, it is a dazzling, giant sized image of one of Japanese baseball's mid-century greats. Fewer than a handful of copies of this card are known to have survived to the present day.
Takehiko Bessho was Japan's premier pitcher during the late 1940s and early 1950s. He twice won 30 or more games in a season, baffling hitters with a variety of off speed deliveries. During his career, he won two MVP awards and two Sawamura (Japanese Cy Young) awards. He won 310 games and had a lifetime ERA of only 2.18. Blank backed card.
Size: 7 5/16" x 10"
Condition: Extra glue and paper residue due to previous mounting in an album. Two clipped corners and pinholes in the other two corners. Several surface creases.