A diamond guy

Local | 17 May 2017

Not many people realize that Hong Kong has some baseball connections. We host an annual international women's baseball tournament, the Phoenix Cup (which my company sponsored for many years). And the city has baseball fields in Kowloon and Lam Tin.

It also has one of the world's greatest collectors of baseball artifacts. Stephen Wong is a banker who has spent much of his career here in Hong Kong. But he grew up in San Francisco, where he played in the Little League, became a fan of the Giants and started collecting baseball cards.

After awhile, he became fascinated with the history of the game - including the role of baseball in American society, and its influence on things like local identity, race relations and the media. He started to collect baseball memorabilia and has now joined the ranks of the top collectors.

Serious collectors acquire historic team uniforms, jerseys and gloves, and of course bats and balls. But they also manage to find items like old ticket stubs, posters, board games, rule books - and of course, baseball cards. Some of these objects date back to the 19th century.

In conjunction with other collectors, Stephen has authored glossy coffee- table books illustrating memorabilia from these collections. And he recently gave a lecture on these projects at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

He jokes that in 18 years as a Hong Kong banker, he was never invited to do big TV interviews - but now, thanks to baseball, he is.

Bernard Charnwut Chan is chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Advisory Committee

standard@bernardchan.com

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