Wakabayashi was the first American superstar player in Japan. Born on a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, he learned baseball as a child on the playing fields of a nearby US military base. He toured Japan with a Nisei team from Stockton, CA, impressing Big Six University scouts. Hosei U. tried to enroll him, but the other schools objected, as Wakabayashi's Japanese language skills and overall academic knowledge did not meet Big Six U. entrance standards. A compromise was reached, and after nine months attending a Japanese prep school, Wakabayashi was admitted.
As a pro (1936-53), Wakabayashi, a pitcher, starred with the Tigers and Orions, compiling a lifetime ERA of 1.99 to go with a career won- loss mark of 237-144. His best season was 1944, when he went 22-4, 1.56. Wakabayashi pitched throughout World War II in Japan, despite the fact that he was an American! In 1964, he became the first American inducted in to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame.
This colorful card captures Wakabayashi in his final year with the Osaka Tigers before joining the Mainichi Orions in 1950.
Size: 2 7/8" x 4"
Condition: Nm/Mt--right out of the box