Of all of the autographs I acquired two winters ago, the one I didn't think I'd ever get was of the Dragons mascot, Doala.
Doala is a koala bear whose name is a mix of the ド(Do) in ドラゴン(the Japanese spelling/pronunciation of Dragon) and Oala part of koala. The team picked him to be a koala because the koala exhibit was the most popular attraction at the local zoo in Nagoya at the time.
Doala has been the Dragons mascot since his debut in 1994 and as such his jersey number is also 1994. He's the Dragons' most popular mascot and is often seen at official Dragons backed events and every home game in the season.
Part of Doala's shtick is how he does a mid air somersault during the seven inning stretch. Namely because around this time the crowd is either bored or fired up. The common joke is that if the Dragons go on to win, it's because Doala managed to land the somersault. If the Dragons lost, it's because Doala didn't manage to make the landing. Of course that's not true, but it's fun stuff for casual fans who just wanted to watch a game for whatever reason on a summer evening.
The Dragons actually have two more mascots named Paolon and Shaolon, both of whom are based on actual dragons, but because they're plump and have tails that keep them from making somersaults, Doala gets top billing. Those two have autographs as well so we'll explore their stories in another post.
Anyway this is the first (and to date) only mascot autograph in my collection.
It was actually a gift from a collector named RA12 (a Roberto Alomar supercollector) who knew that I was on a Chunichi kick. What a thoughtful gift.
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).