Sunday, February 28, 2010

2009 Topps Heritage Koji Uehara

Who is this? Baltimore Orioles' pitcher Koji Uehara

What is this? An autographed card from the 2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers set

Where'd I get it? I wrote to Uehara at the Orioles spring training camp and asked him to sign it. I got it back yesterday, signed.

How much did it cost? I think I spent about a quarter for the card last fall.

Why is this so special? Koji Uehara had a good career in Japan, winning 112 games while losing only 62 for the Yomiuri Giants. He won the Central League Rookie of the Year award and the Eiji Sawamura Award (the equivalent of the Cy Young Award) in 1999. He won the Sawamura Award again in 2002, and was an 8-time all-star.

Uehara pitched for the 2004 bronze medal-winning Japanese Olympic Team, and was a member of the Japanese team that won the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

I couldn't quite figure out Uehara's autograph until I looked at some examples online. He signed "Koji 19" in English... I guess if you want his full name, you'll have to look for one of the certified autographed cards out on the market.

Still, it's pretty cool. He may not have the best handwriting, but I guarantee that he did a better job signing his name in English than I could if I tried to sign mine in katakana.

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