30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I love the 80's (Baseball Edition) #5 - Lenn Sakata

Before I was a fan of Kurt Suzuki... before Ichiro... and before Nomo... there was Sakata. Lenn Sakata.

Okay... so I didn't collect Sakata back in the 80's... but it's hard not to remember him. I pulled a bunch of his cards... and if I didn't they were often given to me by my buddies. You see... when you're the only Japanese kid in the neighborhood... and Sakata is the only player with a Japanese name in the set... all of your friends figure he has to be your favorite player... which wasn't true.

In fact... this 1984 Topps card is the only card I found sitting in my collection. I know I have a few tucked away in some of the 80's sets I've built, but outside of those... the rest were sold when I dumped the bulk of my collection years ago.

But last week... while searching for a Tony Gwynn jersey... I strolled upon Ironclad Authentics which sells a bunch of Cal Ripken Jr. and other Baltimore Orioles autographs... including this autographed 8x10 of Mr. Sakata:

As soon as I saw this photo and their asking price... I knew I wanted it. It's a classic picture that brings back childhood memories, because this is exactly how I remember him. As a bonus, Sakata took the time to write the following inscription: 83 WS Champs. If I were to guess... I'd say that being a part of the 1983 World Series Championship team was the highlight of his playing career. Over eleven seasons, he collected 296 hits, 25 homeruns, and 109 RBI's. His final batting average was meager .230.

Sakata went on to have a successful coaching career. He holds the record for most managerial wins in California League history. He is currently the batting coach for the Asheville Tourists... a farm team for the Colorado Rockies.

I'm sure some of you are asking yourselves... why would Fuji waste his money on a sub-par second baseman from the 80's?

Well... it's pretty simple. I'm not getting younger... and if a $10 autograph can help stir up childhood memories for even for a few minutes... it's worth it in my book.

What about you...

What's something you've purchased that's worthless to most people... but valuable to you?

Happy Wednesday friends... Sayonara!


  1. I believe most of what I purchase, whether cards, books, any sports related stuff --most of those other people (read non-collectors) of which I know many, don't understand--something like my Guy Lafleur energy drink full bottle--it was something like Gatorade--I also did not collect Sakata but my late father liked him so I picked up his cards whenever I could--also sent away to the Japanese League teams and got a lot of stuff which I now have

  2. Kazi - What kind of stuff did you get from the Japanese League teams? I'd love to read about them on your blog sometime. It's only been in the past few months that I've gotten into collecting Japanese trading cards... but I must admit... I love it!

  3. yearbooks, schedules, the usual fan pack stuff--might have to blog this

  4. I'd have to say my David Vaughn Auto'd 8X10 that I actually took the time to send off because it was a redemption out of box of Signature Rookies Fame and Forturne back in 95. When you're young an auto is an auto and I didn't care that Vaughn wasn't gonna be a star, he was still an NBA player and I waited in anticipation for that 8X10 to come in. I still have it of course and it's a fun reminder of what the hobby should be all about...fond memories.

  5. Chris P - I'm glad you have a piece of something that reminds you of fond memories.

    At the time... I was a huge fan of Signature Rookies. I loved the idea that they inserted an autograph per pack. I still have a ton of their products in my trade bait. I kept a couple of autographs of local players.

    Do you remember all of the drama caused when they filed for bankruptcy? People were upset because a lot of the redemptions were never fulfilled.

  6. Oh yeah, I'm very glad that I never had anything huge that went unfulfilled. I remember that fame and fortune box came with one autograph and one redemption for an autograph memorabilia. It was like a $29.99 blaster at Target. I remember getting a J.J. Stokes auto'd card too, lol

  7. There's a Jerry Stackhouse basketball out there that has my name on it... at least I think it was him. It could have been Joe Smith. I just remember sending it in (along with other redemptions) and not getting anything in return.

    Oh well... I'm still in good health... and I still collect. So what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger ;-)

  8. I've also got to say that about 90% of my collection is meaningless to anyone else. Even the stuff that could have value, like autographs, don't have as much because I love getting things personalized. I have so many oddball items that I joke that I collect collections. One of these days I have to write about some of them on the ol' blog.

  9. Offy - Oddballs are awesome! Definitely share with the blogworld what you have. I have a few random items I'll eventually post, but nothing too exciting.