Do any American cards actually say "baseball card"? This card measures 2" x 2.5" and is very pleasing, similar to the aesthetics of an Allen & Ginter mini, but not quite so mini.
Name: Tatsunori Hara.
Yes, so this is the current manager of the Yumiori Giants, and also of the Japanese team playing right now in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In 1981, he was drafted in the first round by the Yomiuri Giants to replace retiree Sadaharu Oh as the cleanup hitter. He had quite a good rookie year, hitting .268/.308/.483 and tying a rookie record with seven RBI in a game. He was popular and charismatic. The next couple of years didn't go as well, and according to baseball-reference, American teammates Reggie Smith and Warren Cromartie argued that he had been overcoached.
181 cm tall, 78 kilo wt
Graduated from Tokai University 7-22 33
Regarding the birthdate, according to our friend's mother: "the showa year vs. western year scale is what confuses." For instance, the card says he was born in 1933, but there's an 's' near the year, which means "showa," so on our timeframe Hara was born in 1958. (Wikipedia provides a helpful and detailed nengō, or era, conversion calendar.) Showa was used during the life of Emperor Hirohito; after his death, Japanese used the era name "Heisei." This year is Heisei 21.
Under the heading "main title" it says "58 Dateno MVP." da-ten-o literally translated in Japanese is "hit-grading point-king." However, a better translation for "ten" would be "score."
The card also mentions salary: 6000 man yen is $600,000 ("Suitei" or "estimated" in Japanese). So, his salary in 1988 was estimated at $600k. He was drafted in 1981.
The card also reveals that, at least in 1988, he drove a Mercedes-Benz. In 1988, Hara hit .300/.382/.555 and won his second and last Gold Glove. His 31 homers were two fewer than the league leader as he again just missed a home run title. He was 25 points behind Hiromitsu Ochiai in slugging. In 1989, he would for the first time fail to make the All-Star team.
Hara managed Yomiuru from 1999-2001, and then was rehired in 2006--and he led the Giants to the best record in the Central League in2007 and 2008.
Thank you Betsy and your mother, and thank you jacobmrley!