This JBR 64 Voice Bromide is still in its original glassine envelope packaging. The large, colorful JBR 64 cards were originally marketed in mounted wall racks as shown in the accompanying image (wall rack not part of the lot). The cards have a hole in the center and grooves which allow the card to double as a phonograph record. One can actually hear the player speak when the card is used as a record.
While two cards from this set featuring Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima are quite common, all other cards in the set are quite rare. The Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, Vintage Edition 2.1 assigns an R4 scarcity factor to all cards other than the two more common Oh and Nagashima cards, signifying that fewer than 10 copies of each card are known in the hobby. This is the only Murayama card known to still be packed in its glassine envelope sleeve.
Murayama, the "Man of Flames", was a brilliant right handed pitcher whose spectacular career will always be eclipsed by the memory of his being the loser in the greatest "mano a mano" battle in Japan Pro Baseball history. The emperor of Japan had never witnessed a pro baseball game in person prior to 1959. When it was announced that the emperor and his wife would attend a forthcoming Giants-Tigers game, that game received the greatest advance billing ever for a Japanese sporting event. In the bottom of the 9th inning, rookie reliever Murayama, who had pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning, faced Japan's Golden Boy, Shigeo Nagashima with the score tied. Tension mounted with each pitch. On a 2-2 count, Nagashima hit an inside delivery into the left field stands. This game ending "sayonara" home run is considered to be the greatest event in Japan sports history.
Despite this early career setback, Murayama's rhythmic, controlled "Zatopek" pitching style carried him to three Sawamura (Japan Cy Young) awards, ERAs of 1.20 or lower in three different seasons and induction in to the Japan Hall of Fame.
Size: 4 3/16" x 5 5/8"
Condition: Nm/Mt in original packaging