Bling and Baseball Cards: Alum Ben Baller Designs Ichiro, Ken Griffey Jr. for Topps

Monday, April 06, 2020
Photo of Ben Baller wearing sunglasses, earring and gold teeth
Photo by Jules Jordan

SEATTLE TIMES -- For another thing, he was an avid baseball-card collector as a youngster. But most importantly, as a Korean American and former athlete — the first Asian-American to play football and basketball at San Francisco State — Yang has always related to Ichiro and the challenges he faced as the first Japanese-born position player in Major League Baseball.

“For the most part, growing up, I was always the odd-man out in sports and everything,’’ Yang said in a phone interview from his L.A. home. “Being Asian was a little bit of a struggle, and also very challenging for the things I like to do in my life. With the adversity and everything I faced, when I looked at the list of 20 people, I said, ‘Hey, man, this has to be the first one I do.’”