Sunday, June 7, 2020

Mike Solomko Doubles


Back in the 1960s Japanese makers of baseball menko used to re-use photos a lot.  Topps did that in the US too back then, but menko makers had the advantage of being able to hide their tracks a bit better.  Since they used colorized black and white photos they could just change the colors on the same photo from year to year.

The above cards of Hanshin Tigers slugger Mike Solomko put out by Doyusha in 1961 and 1962 (JCM 35 and JCM 55) provide a good illustration of this.  Same photo, different colors.  Actually the colors make no sense on either - the outfield grass at Koshien is neither red nor blue!  But it does kind of look cool so I give them a pass on that.

Solomko is  an interesting guy.  He  came to Japan while serving in the United States Army, he arrived on a destroyer by chance after getting switched from one destined for Korea.   He got a tryout with the Tigers towards the end of his service, and ended up playing in NPB for six seasons (four with Hanshin, two with the Orions).  I don't know of any other player who came to Japan via that route!

He is also one of the few Americans to settle down in Japan after his playing days ended.  60 years after arriving, he is still here! From that perspective, he is one of the godfathers of us "long term foreign residents of Japan" and I collect his cards partly out of respect for that!

4 comments:

  1. I think I've got a couple examples of the same photo being used on both a menko and a bromide card.

    It's kind of odd that Solomko hasn't appeared in any of BBM's OB sets - especially their Tigers OB sets - considering he's still living in Japan. I've really felt BBM's ignored most of the import players from the late 50's/early 60's. Many of them are still around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I remember you mentioning that in one of your write ups. It is odd, he was certainly a good enough player to warrant inclusion.

      Delete
  2. Cool write up. Mad respect for him and what a way to get one of the call up spots. Coloring on menko is so weird sometimes. Especially when the registration is off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a good point about the registration.

      His face looks completely different on these two as well. He is completely pink on the one on the left, and his eyes are different too.

      Delete