We are a week away from 2014 Topps Heritage, today we bring you one of my favorite cards from the original 1965 set:
1965 Topps #282 Giants Rookie Stars Dick Estelle & Masanori Murakami
Masanori Murakami was the first Japanese MLB player way back in 1964. He preceded Hideo Nomo by three and a half decades. As a lefthanded relief pitcher Murakami pitched farily well for the Giants. Unfortunately due to a variety of contract issues and failed negotiations between the Giants, MLB and the Japanese League Nankai Hawks Murakami would return to Japan after a mere two seasons in the States.
For further information, I highly recommend this Masanori Murakami biography that I believe was written by High School student in New York City. The Bio- further cites "Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game" which as it's name infers is mostly Murakami commenting on his career - not terrific writing but an interesting read.
Murakami was honored by the Giants in 1995, throwing out the first pitch prior to a game versus the Dodgers. Coincidentally the LA starter that night was Hideo Nomo who took a no-hitter into the 7th inning, Royce Clayton broke up the Nomo No-No which was the only hit for the Giants.
I had thought Masahiro Tanaka would have been a great candidate for the #282 card in 2014T Heritage, but Ben Henry as pointed out over at the Baseball Card Blog that Tanaka's signing may have happened to late for Topps to send the card to print. I hope that Topps figures it out, Tanaka would be a nice bonus for 2014 Heritage.
1965 Topps featured a number of Rookie Stars cards including 3 and 4 player varieties.
1965 Topps #597 Rookie Stars Twins
1965 Topps #561 Rookie Stars Dodgers
No idea why Joe Nosseck got the prime spot in the Twins card. Perhaps alphabetic order. Rich Reese had the best career of the three Players. As far as the Dodger card, Jim Lefebvre was probably the most successful - in 1965 he even beat out Joe Morgan for Rookie of the Year.
The Great 1965 Topps Blog - Kevin has a lot more info on the Dick Estelle half of the above card.
1965 Topps/2014 Heritage Index
Base - #534 John Herrnstein
Rookie Cup - #460 Dick Allen
Rookie Stars - #282 Dick Estelle & Masanori Murakami
More info on 1965 Topps
The entire 1965 Topps Series was covered by Kevin B of Orioles Card "O" the day on The Great 1965 Topps Project
Sports Collectors Digest (TS O' Connell)
Golden Age of Baseball Cards
HSMSE Sports Journalism Blog