Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Hello Carter Stewart Jr

 Once or twice a year, something will come up and I'll learn about a rare event, unique occurrence, or obscure award, and I'll be inspired to start a new mini-collection of sorts. Last year, I put together a collection of MLB knuckleball pitchers and a collection of players who came from my schools or towns I've lived in.

Earlier this month, I posted about a player in the 1960s who never played with the top team in the NPB, but due to the fanfare around his signing, ended up in a few card sets. Mark Brownstein was the first American to sign with the NPB without playing in the MiLB or MLB. Only two other players have done this: Matt Randel and Carter Stewart Jr. 

Yesterday, I talked about Alex Ramirez's retirement; Ramirez was the only active person I was collecting in the NPB at the beginning of the 2020 season. Well, in December, I found a copy of this card:

I should mention that I've been collecting Carter Stewart Jr. since the summer of 2019, but not for myself. I've been sending off the cards I find to a guy in the States. But effective about a month ago, I've also decided to collect his cards. I'm not going all-in on Stewart; I'll collect his base cards and perhaps some inserts, too. He doesn't really have many cards at this time anyway.

So hello, Carter. Welcome to my collection.


  1. It's kinda crazy that only 3 Americans have signed NPB contracts without ever playing in a MLB or MiLB game. I would have thought a lot of college guys would test their luck in Japan... especially if they couldn't get signed in the states. Then again... maybe NPB teams only want players who have proven themselves at the MiLB/MLB level.

  2. So the more I've been thinking about this, the more I think there's more players than we think. A lot of the nisei players from the 1950's did not play professionally in the States before playing in Japan. I think there's a couple other Americans from the 1950's who didn't have any professional experience before playing in Japan. The most interesting one might be Charlie Hood, who was stationed in Yokosuka with the US Navy (I assume) and ended up getting into 25 games at a variety of positions with the Mainichi Orions in 1953. He was a teammate and fellow soldier with Leo Kiely who was the first former MLB player to play in Japan - he was also stationed at Yokosuka in 1953. But Hood had never played professional baseball before that and I'm not sure he did afterwards - there's not much information on him. He's 90-ish if he's still alive.

    1. And nevermind - Hood did play minor league ball before being stationed at Yokosuka. It was one of those cases where Baseball-Reference had multiple pages for the same guy. Hood was born in 1928, not 1930 as his NPB stat page had it and passed away in 2003. Still, kind of wild that two guys in the Navy played in NPB while still in the Navy!

  3. Interesting. I wonder why SoftBank took a chance on Carter? Will be cool to see what you uncover!