May 01, 2012

Japan's White Russian Hurler

Japan's White Russian Hurler

There is not a single Russian-born player in the American Baseball Hall of Fame. Yet, if the tide of history had flowed just a bit differently, Victor Starffin might well have ended up in Cooperstown alongside Ruth, Gehrig, Killebrew and Mays. Instead, history washed Starffin up on the shores of Japan, eventually leading to a career as one of that country’s greatest players ever.

Victor Starffin was born April 21, 1916 in Nizhny Tagil, Russia, into a world of wealth and privilege. His parents, Constantine and Yevdokia, owned a large estate that employed many servants. Constantine was also a Colonel in the Russian army and was stationed at Verkhotursk, about a hundred miles away.

Yevdokia bore the couple three sons between 1909 and 1913, all of whom died in infancy. Victor, however, was born strong and healthy. The Starffins were sure that this time God had blessed them with a special child.

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