Lot # 118: 1949 JBR 166 Sepia Bromide Baseball Card Autographed by Victor Starffin (HOF) (Russia)

Category: Autographs

Starting Bid: $450.00

Bids: 13 (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

Autographs of Victor Starffin have always been super popular with Japanese baseball collectors.  This is especially true for autographed cards.  Starffin is identified on the back of this card as a member of the Kinsei Stars (his 1948 team) by the manufacturer.  However, he is wearing his All Japan uniform from 1949 in the photo, hence the 1949 designation.  Since Starffin (1916-1957) died at age 40, his autographs are quite difficult to find.

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.

Size:  2 1/8” x 2 1/4”

Condition:  Autograph—6.5 out of 10.  Card—Ex/Mt

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