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!