Although 42 other cards from the JBR 32 set have previously been catalogued in the Japanese Baseball Card Checklist & Price Guide, this card is a new addition. Moreover, it is the first autographed Japanese prewar baseball card that we have ever seen, other than those that were autographed by American Major Leaguers during the 1931 and 1934 U.S. All Star Tours of Japan. Additionally, it is an early autograph of America's first member of the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame. As such, it is a truly unique piece. Henry "Bozo" Wakabayashi has signed the card in black fountain pen. The inscription reads, "Henry T. Wakabayashi Hosei 1930". The T. stands for Tadashi, which was his Japanese first name.
Born on a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, Henry Tadashi "Bozo" Wakabayashi (1908-1965) learned baseball as a child on the playing fields of a nearby US military base. As a youth, 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 in 1929. Later, as a member of Japan Pro Baseball (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.
Blank backed card.
Size: 1 3/4" x 2 3/4"
Condition: Autograph--6 to 7 out of 10. Baseball card--Good. The card contains additional black paper and glue on the reverse due to previous mounting in a photo album.