We have seen this game only once before, and that
was nearly 30 years ago! It is a tin
sheet with a target on the front. Players
are to throw magnetic darts at the target (darts not included in this auction). If a dart hits the outer ring, then the
player gets a single (worth 40 points).
A better aim will get the player a double or triple, with the bullseye
being a home run worth 100 points.
Presumably, if the dart does not hit the target, the player will be
charged with an out.
The target features large images of Kazuhisa Inao and
Shigeo Nagashima, arguably Japan baseball’s best pitcher and hitter of the late
1950s. In 1958, Nagashima was named
Rookie of the Year. He led the Central
League in home runs and RBI, but he lost his triple crown bid after finishing
second in batting average. Inao won 33
games, losing only 10, with a microscopic 1.42 ERA. He struck out 334 batters in 373 innings
pitched and was named MVP of the Pacific League.
Inao is pictured wearing a Nishitetsu Lions uniform
worn only in 1958 and 1959. Nagashima’s
uniform was worn by the Yomiuri Giants in those same years. Therefore, this game was most likely produced
in 1958 or 1959. A 1958 date
(Nagashima’s rookie year) may be more likely, as the Nagashima fervor was at
its peak in 1958, and Inao’s 1959 season was eclipsed by that of Nagashima’s
college teammate, Tadashi Sugiura.
However, the 1958 date of issue is merely a conjecture.
In either case, this item is a rare and unusual
1/4" x 6 1/4"
Minor rust visible on the all-white back. Overall Ex.