Eiji Sawamura is the most legendary player in Japan baseball history. In 1934, at the tender age of 18, he pitched in the U.S. Major League All Star Tour of Japan and struck out Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx in succession. Some say that the 5' 9", 155 lb. righthander's fastball exceeded 100 m.p.h. that day. Connie Mack offered him a major league contract after the game! However, Sawamura decided to join the Tokyo Giants instead.
Sawamura had an astounding 63-22 won/loss record in Japan Pro Baseball along with a 1.74 lifetime ERA. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by his military service and untimely death during World War II at the age of 27. The Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young award is named in his honor.
Despite all his success and acclaim, there are only a handful of magazines that feature Sawamura on the cover. Prior to World War II, as most baseball fans followed primarily the Tokyo Big Six University League. The newly formed Japan Pro Baseball League was reduced to an afterthought. Yakyukai was possibly the most popular Japanese baseball magazine of the era. All of the Big Six U. stars were represented on cover after cover. However, few prewar editions of Yakyukai were produced that contained much information about pro baseball, and even fewer had pro players on the cover.
Fortunately, the July 1941 issue contains a cover image of Eiji Sawamura, along with his battery mate, Masaki Yoshiwara, who was also killed in 1944. Furthermore, it includes quite a bit of coverage of the Japan Pro Baseball season. There are 12 pages of photos. In addition to another image of Sawamura, there is a photo of Russian great Victor Starffin. The caption for this photo lists him as Hiroshi Suda, as he was forced to change his name during the war to a more Japanese sounding name! A very young Tetsuharu Kawakami is also depicted in the photo section. Also included in the magazine are two vouchers for free tickets or discount tickets to any Japan Pro Baseball game.
Size: 7" x 10". 92 pages.
Condition: The top and bottom edges of the binding have frayed, but the binding is solid. The front cover has several creases in the top portion. The inside pages, including the photo pages are quite nice.