Lot # 133: Late 1950s Baseball Target Game Shigeo Nagashima (HOF) (Rookie?) & Kazuhisa Inao (HOF)

Category: Misc.

Starting Bid: $40.00

Bids: 1 (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

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 piece.

Size:  6 1/4" x 6 1/4"

Condition:  Minor rust visible on the all-white back.  Overall Ex.

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