Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#81 - Lenn Sakata

What a card: Lenn Sakata had just finished hitting .191 for the Orioles in 1984, the fourth time in his career that he hit below .200 for a season. The 1985 season would be his last of six seasons with the Orioles.

My observation on the front: Sakata appears to be in bunting mode. It seems like that's all I ever saw Sakata do when he came to the plate -- attempt to bunt.

More opinion from me: We were not nice to Sakata growing up. Because my youngest brother was a fan of the Orioles, we had to find someone on the team to rip, and Sakata was an easy target. Asian ballplayers were a rarity at the time, and his unique look to our way of thinking was worth noting. He wore those round glasses, and he was short, and he barely hit. All worthy of derision.

Something you might know: Sakata was the second Asian-American to play in the major leagues when he came up with the Brewers in 1977. The first was pitcher Ryan Kurosaki with the Cardinals in 1975.

Something you might not know: The Brewers gave Sakata the starting second base job out of spring training in 1978. Robin Yount was deciding whether he wanted to continue playing baseball or take up golf. So rookie Paul Molitor started at shortstop. When Yount decided baseball was still for him, Molitor was red-hot and he took over for Sakata at second. Sakata barely played another game for the Brewers.

My observation on the front: The answer to the trivia question remains correct.

The blog wants to speak now: A quick update of the News and Pop Culture  pages.


MJ said...

2nd Asian-American to Ryan Kurosaki? What about Mike Lum?

Chris Stufflestreet said...

Notice how Topps didn't even bother to make a comment about his career, even though there's enough space there to do so.

And I'm also assuming that you didn't mention Mansouri Murakami pitching in 1964-'65 was because he was Japanese and not technically Asian-American. Or because he was a Giant.

night owl said...

I got the "2nd Asian-American" reference from the New York Times. Murakami doesn't count because he wasn't American. I'm not sure why Lum was omitted -- maybe he was strictly Hawaiian? Or the Times could've goofed.

jacobmrley said...

According to wikipedia (take it for what it's worth) "Lum was the first American of Japanese ancestry to play in the major leagues. He was adopted by a Chinese-Hawaiian family."