Lot # 53: c. 1950 Uncatalogued Victor Starffin (HOF) (Russia) Very Large Bromide Baseball Card

Category: Baseball Cards

Starting Bid: $125.00

Bids: 8 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Auction 65 Ended 3/18/2023",
which ran from 2/27/2023 5:00 PM to
3/18/2023 11:00 PM

Only two copies of this very large, sepia beauty are known in the hobby.  Victor Starffin is seen here wearing a Daiei Stars uniform worn only in 1949 and 1950.  The Japanese text at the bottom reads “Daiei Starffin pitcher”.  The card was most likely a 2nd prize winner card, and was issued attached to a display sheet. 

The first foreigner elected to Japan's Hall of Fame, Starffin was the first pitcher to win 300 games in Japan Pro Baseball. His family escaped the Soviet Union in the early 1920s, settling in Japan in 1925. Shortly after his father was convicted of murdering a young Russian woman, Starffin joined the All Japan team that faced Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig & Co. during the fabled 1934 U.S. Tour of Japan. He also traveled to the U.S. in 1935 and 1936 with the Yomiuri Giants, facing many American major and minor league teams. A Giants stalwart during the early years of Japan Pro Baseball, Starffin was forced to take the Japanese name Hiroshi Suda in 1940 to show his allegiance to Japan during World War II. He was later interrogated for being a Russian spy, placed under surveillance, and eventually relocated to a detention camp.

After the war, Starffin acted as an interpreter for occupying forces and returned to Japan Pro Baseball. He retired after the 1955 season with 303 wins, a lifetime 2.09 ERA and two MVP awards. Marital problems supposedly drove Starffin to drink, leading to his untimely death in a 1957 alcohol related auto accident. Starffin was only 40 years old when he died.

Blank back card

Size:  Approximately 4 3/4” x 6 1/2”

Condition:  Vg/Ex to Ex.  There is extra paper residue and glue on the blank back because the card was originally attached to a display sheet by the manufacturer.  All examples of this card will have the same residue on the back.

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