Lot # 115: 1949 Autographed Shikishi--Six Players, Four HOFers Incl. Victor Starffin, Betto.

Category: Autographs

Starting Bid: $400.00

Bids: 11 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Auction 62: Ended 11/14/2021",
which ran from 10/30/2021 8:00 PM to
11/13/2021 11:00 PM

We believe that this shikishi (traditional Japanese autograph board) was signed at a game between the Osaka Tigers and Daiei Stars during the 1949 season. All the players who signed the shikishi were members of one of these two teams in 1949. The key autograph is that of Victor Starffin (HOF) (Russia) (bottom row center) who was the first foreigner elected to Japan's Hall of Fame, and the first pitcher to win 300 games in Japan Pro Baseball. His family had escaped the Soviet Union in the early 1920s.

Three other Hall of Fame members signed this shikishi--Fumio Fujimura (top row left) who was known as Mr. Tigers during his 23 years as a third baseman for the Osaka franchise, Sadayoshi Fujimoto (top row right), who at the time was Stars manager, but from 1936 to 1942, had led the Yomiuri Giants to seven league titles, and Kaoru Betto (bottom row left), the Gentleman of Baseball, whose visage was featured on a shirt worn by Jeff Bridges in the Big Lebowski and other films. Also signing were Tigers outfielder Tsuguo Goto of the Tigers (bottom row, right), who from 1949 to 1953 batted .300 or more each season, and Stars first baseman, Torao Ooka (top row center).

Torao Ooka played only three seasons in Japan Pro Baseball. He didn't begin his pro career until age 37. Before that, he spent 20 seasons with the Yahata Steel Works team in the industrial leagues. In 1931, at age 19, Ooka was the starting pitcher when Yahata Steel Works faced the 1931 U.S. All Star Tour of Japan team, featuring Lefty Grove and Lou Gehrig. As a pitcher, Ooka was bombed that day. However, he also homered twice in the game off of Larry French! As a Pro, even in his late 30s, Ooka was effective. Playing first base for Daiei, he hit 26 homers with 111 RBI in 1949.

Signed with a traditional black pen.

Size: 10 3/4" x 9 1/2"

Condition: The shikishi is Vg due to minor foxing throughout and creasing in the lower left corner. Neither of these defects affect the signatures. Autographs range from 7 to 9 out of 10.

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