Here'a a cool card that I picked up a few weeks ago -- a Japanese Yogi Berra bromide from the mid 1950s.
Yogi toured Japan three times. The first came in 1953 when the Mainichi Newspaper sponsored Eddie Lopat and a team of all stars for a series of games against Pacific League squads and Japanese all star teams. The American team included Hall of Famers Bob Lemon, Robin Roberts, Nellie Fox, Eddie Mathews and Enos Slaughter. Mickey Mantle had planned to make the trip but a knee injury kept him home. After dropping the first game 5-4 to their hosts, the Mainichi Orions, Lopat's All Stars reeled off eleven straight wins. Yogi played in all twelve games pounding out 6 HRs and hitting .386.
Yogi returned to the Land of the Rising Sun two years later with the New York Yankees. Arriving in October 1955, the Bombers cranked out a perfect 15-0-1 record. Berra once again played in every game; this time hitting .380.
1955 NY Yankees Tour of Japan Program
Berra returned in 1974. This time as the manager of the New York Mets. Yogi's Mets got off to a rough start, winning only two of the first nine games. But seven wins in the second nine games- including a streak of five straight, helped them to a 9-7-2 final record.
Besides the card I just aded to my collection, there are at least five other Japanese Berra cards. Three are bromides from the 1953 tour. Two of these were recently sold by Prestige Collectible Auctions. Notice how similar the un-cataloged 1953 card is to my card. One (not pictured below) is a colorful menko card from the 1950s. The fourth was issued in 1974 by Ed Broder to commemorate the Mets tour and thus it not really a Japanese-made card.
For over one hundred years Japanese boys, just like their American brothers, have been collecting baseball cards. There are over a thousand different sets with the cards
coming in many forms - menko, bromides, candy cards, game cards, postcards and others. Japanese baseball cards are at the frontier of sports memorabilia collecting. Many of the sets remain
un-cataloged and there is still much to learn. By displaying unusual cards, providing checklists and posting interviews with top collectors, this blog will hopefully help more people enjoy this