Hall of famers. Promo cards. Japanese baseball players. Three things I love about collecting cardboard and this card represents all of them. Plus, it was a gift from a fellow collector.
And if that wasn't enough... it's one of the coolest history lessons I've had. Back in 1934, Babe Ruth and his barnstorming squad toured The Land of the Rising Sun in an effort to smooth out political tensions between the United States and Japan.
During the tour, Ruth's squad played eighteen games over a month long stay. In one of those games, they faced a seventeen year old pitcher named Eiji Sawamura. Sawamura might be the only pitcher in the history of the game to strike out Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx in succession. C'mon... admit it. That's insane! Right?
But as we all know... Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor ended all hope of peace between the two nations. Sawamura enlisted in the Japanese Imperial Army and on December 2, 1944 he was killed in action at the age of twenty-six.
In 1947, the Sawamura Award was established and awarded to the top starting pitcher in Japan. Hideo Nomo (1990), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2001), and Yu Darvish (2007) are all past recipients of this award.
Before I received this card on Tuesday, I had never seen it or heard of the book it promotes. But the card immediately was added to my Japanese PC and the book is sitting in my cart on Amazon waiting to be purchased.
Domo arigato Markz! Your generosity is much appreciated and I promise to give the Babe and Sawamura-san a loving home.
Happy Thursday everyone and sayonara!