Following the 1959 season he signed with the Nankai Hawks. He spent the next six seasons with Nankai, going 94-59 over that time. His best season was 1964, when he went 26-7 with a 2.40 ERA (both marks were second in the Pacific League that season) while leading the league with six shutouts. He threw three more shutouts in the Nippon Series that year against the Hanshin Tigers, winning Games One, Six and Seven. He was named MVP of the Series and also MVP for the Pacific League, becoming the first non-Japanese American to win the award.
Stanka and his family returned to the US after the tragic death of his teenage son in the off season after the 1965 season - his son was asphyxiated by a faulty gas heater while taking a shower. Stanka was initially unsure if he wanted to return to baseball for 1966 and by the time he decided to come back, Nankai had already filled their foreign player slots. He ended up with the Taiyo Whales and went 6-13 with an ERA of 4.17 in his final professional season. Those six wins with the Whales gave him a total of 100 for his NPB career - he was the first American pitcher to reach that milestone.
Stanka made the Best 9 team in 1964 and was selected for the Pacific League All Star team in 1960 and 1964.
Stanka had a number of cards issued for him while he was in Japan - mostly menko and bromide cards. You'll notice something odd about this first card - it's from the JBR 5 set that Engel lists as being from 1959. But Stanka didn't join Nankai until 1960 so either it's not Stanka or the set's not from 1959.
|1959 JBR 5 (Stanka's on the right)|
|1960 JBR 6 (Stanka's in the upper right)|
|1964 Marukami JCM 14g|
|1994 BBM $545|
|2008 BBM Hawks 70th Anniversary #22|
|2013 BBM Hawks 75th Anniversary #14|
|2013 BBM Legendary Foreigners #02|
|2014 BBM 80th Anniversary Pitchers Edition #25|
|2018 BBM Hawks 80th Anniversary #08|