Very little is known about the company that produced the Hitachi Milk Caramel cards, or about the cards themselves. Like the Cisco Caramel Co. of the previous lot, the Hitachi Company was apparently a smaller competitor of large caramel brands such as Kobai, Calbee and Morinaga. The Hitachi cards feature only Nishitetsu Lions players. Hitachi joined the redemption card craze in 1952 as did all the aforementioned companies. In our 33 years of buying, selling and auctioning Japanese baseball cards, we have seen Hitachi Caramel cards on only one occasion about 20 years ago.
This card is one of seven examples from that original find. Only six different players are listed in the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, Vintage Edition 2.1. This is the only card for which a second example is known. All others are unique and in a collection which is unlikely to ever be broken up. Therefore, those searching for a type card from this elusive issue are currently limited to the one example offered here.
The player depicted on this card is Mamoru Otsu, a right handed pitcher, who played for the Lions from 1951 to 1963. His best years were in the early 1950s, when he won 18 games in a season twice and 21 games once.
Size: Approximately 1 3/4" x 2 3/4"
Condition: Fair to Poor