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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.14, No.1
p.1 2004 Season Opens Fumio Kobayashi, President

The professional baseball in Japan celebrates the 70th anniversary in 2004. The visit of the All-American team in 1934 brought about the birth of a professional baseball club, which was to become the present Yomiuri Giants. In 1936 the Japanese Professional Baseball League, composed of 7 teams, was inaugurated and in 1950 the 2-league system, with the Central and Pacific Leagues, began.

Now baseball ranks the first as a spectator sport getting 46% of support in a recent survey (soccer being the 2nd with 13%). This year is full of baseball events: opening of MLB pennant race in Tokyo in March, the Olympics in Athens (so-called Nagashima Japan is participating), and the coming of the American All-Stars in November.

Our baseball museum has collected and displayed artifacts about professional and many kinds of non-professional baseball, not only of Japan but also of foreign countries where baseball has been played. At the same time, the baseball library has provided much information through its books, magazines and newspapers. In recent years, it has also offered help to young students with their summer and comprehensive study on baseball.

We have decided to make our baseball museum more accessible and familiar to visitors, young and old, where they will be able to leisurely play and study. As the first step of innovation, we have enlarged the amateur baseball section two times as large as before, thus Little League, Boys League gaining their due places (Photo above left on page 2) along with student (high school and university) baseball.

Special attention has been given to baseball competitions in the Olympics in Athens. The Japan team headed by Nagashima gained a berth in the Olympics by winning all the games in the preliminary competition and they are strongly expected to win the gold medal in Athens. In accordance with the national support and wish, we have displayed 25 sets of uniforms worn by the members of the Japan team, the trophy, and a baseball autographed all of them. (Photo below. Please refer also to page 4)

p.2 Kawaifs 512th sacrifice bunt (Photo above right)

Masahiro Kawai, then the Yomiuri Giants, did the 512th sacrifice bunt in a game against theYokohama Baystars at Tokyo Dome on August 20, 2003. He is playing for the Chunichi Dragons in 2004.
Thanks to his kind cooperation, the memorable bat, batting glove, and the ball are to be on display for the whole 2004 season.

gGodzillah Matsui Sparks in Tokyo (Photo below right)

In the 2004 opening series of the American League pennant race held away from home in Tokyo on March 30 and 31, Hideki Matsui (New York Yankees) led his team to a tie by hitting his first home run of the season in the 2nd game before a capacity of jubilant spectators. His bat and batting glove are now on display at the Special Japan-U.S.

Baseball Corner in the Entrance Hall

Pro Baseball Today (Photo below left)

The artifacts at this corner, comprised of those of 12 professional teams, have been replenished with new acquisitions. For example, a glove used by the rookie of 2003, pitcher Wada (Fukuoka Daiei Hawks) and pitcher Kisanuki (Yomiuri Giants), a bat used by Shinjo (Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, a former Met) and Lee (Chiba Lotte Marines, a former Korean slugger with the Asian record of 56 home runs). Besides artifacts, each team is represented by its managerfs motto for this season on a white card with his autograph.

p.3 Inductees Remembered by their family (5)

Recollection of watching baseball games with my father
Tetsuo Ikeda, third son of the late Tsuneo Ikeda, 96th Hall of Famer

It was probably in 1965 when I first went to Korakuen Stadium accompanied by my Father. It was the heyday of Oh and Nagashima. How thrilling it was to watch their splendid performances under the bright cocktail beams in midsummer.

But there was something different with us from ordinary father-son fans. Soon after the game began, it was usual with my father to disappear to nowhere. The boy was apparently too engrossed in the game, only to greet him at the end of the game. Father and son chatted together for an hour on the train back to Chigasaki.

My father worked parttime as a university student for Yakyu Kai(Baseball World) company in pre-war days and established Baseball Magazine Co. in 1946. He inaugurated not only a baseball magazine but ones for athletics, sumo and golf. When baseball was admitted into the Olympics, he was keen in promoting baseball around the world by sending a baseball instructor to Russia and Mongolia.

The days when I enjoyed watching baseball gwithh my father coincides with the height of prosperity both of the pro baseball and my fatherfs career in publishing. Probably he left the stadium and went to his office, about five minutesf ride by taxi, and busied himself with his work or entertained his customers at a restaurant.

In 1989, he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Watching him in the Induction Ceremony in Meiji Shrine Outer Garden Stadium, I could not help thinking that if he had been watching games with me until the end of the game, he would not have been honored for his contribution to baseball.

P. 4 Rara avis (47)

Two uniforms mark the history of Japanese pro baseball
Takahiro Sekiguchi, co-curator

Among the 30 sets of uniforms on display at gPro Baseball and Uniformsh Exhibition, being held through Sunday, May 23, two of them mark the beginning and the present of current pro baseball in Japan.

The one shown left in the photo is the one worn by Masao Date with his uniform number 18 when he pitched for the All-Japan against the American All-Star in 1934. AN stands for All Nippon and Japanese & American flags are sewn on the left sleeve. 14 members of the All-Japan, including Date (1989), were to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The other shown right in the photo is the one worn by Daisuke Matsuzaka with his uniform number 18 when he pitched for the Japanese team in the Asian Championships in Sapporo in November, 2003, which gave the winners (Japan) a berth for the Olympics in Athens in the summer of 2004.

The uniforms (for home and away) of the 25 members of the Japanese team have beendonated to the Baseball Museum. As is seen in page 1, 23 autographed home uniforms and two for away are on display at the Amateur Baseball Section of the Baseball Museum. One home uniform and two for away are on display at the Entrance Hall. (v.page 4, Newsletter, Vol.13, No.4)

Sugishita donates his uniforms

Another notable uniforms being on display at the above Exhibition are those donated (on march 12, 2004) by Shigeru Sugishita, who pitched for the Chunichi Dragons and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

In 1951, he was invited by Frank OfDoul to the spring of the San Francisco Giants atModesto, California with Tetsuharu Kawakawmi (Yomiuri Giants), Fujio Fujimura (Hanshin Tigers) , Makoto Kozuru (Shochiku Robins).

In the fall of 1951, he pitched for the All-Central against the Major League All-Stars shown in the right photo are Sugishita (left), Fumio Kobayashi (right, President), and Yamaguchi (standing, Administration manager).

p.5 COLUMN: Much to See, Much to Enjoy

Miho Hirata, editor of Yakyu Kozo (Baseball Kid )(Byakuya Publishing Co..)

From the time Yakyu Kozo (Baseball Kid) was published in November, 1998, I have helped edit the baseball magazine by collecting related data at the Baseball Museum Library. I usually visit there on weekdays, but sometimes on weekends and come across enlivening scenes.
One day a couple came in with a boy. The husband once pitched in the Inter-city Championships, the prestigious tournament ambitious non-pro ball players have aspired to participate in. He had hard time in locating the record of the very game he pitched in and soon gave it up. But his wife was interested in finding the articles on the husbandfs big day and turned page after page intently.
On another day a baseball fan came to find the name of a Giant pitcher who was hit a home run by Kobayakawa, Hiroshima Carp on the last day of playing games at Korakuen Stadium. He was fortunate enough to catch the ball in the bleacher. The more knowledgeable visitor taught him the date of the game. Over the scrapbooks handed by the librarian, he and I talked about the game full of reminiscences to both of us. The pleasant conversation was joined later by his son, whose knowledge was naturally limited to the present day, inviting laughter from the surrounding adults. And I felt myself suddenly old.
Indeed visiting the baseball library is no less interesting than going to baseball stadiums.

p.6 Library News

The results of the Japan-U.S. Competition in 1934.
Reiko Yamane, Librarian

The American All-Stars played 16 games against the Japanese opponents and played 2 inter-squad games. The names of the players who hit a home run and those who pitched are listed and the spectators are numbered, which totaled, according to Spalding Official Base Ball Guide 1935, to 450,000. The admission tickets at Meiji Shrine Outer Garden Stadium ranged 4 yen, 1.5 yen and 0.50 yen. The average salary workers in 1937 reportedly earned 75 yen at the first year of their employment.
(N.B. from the translator. Gometz pitched for the both teams in the 9th inning in the second inter-squad game.)

p.7 Bulletin of the Baseball Museum

Change of officials

New chairman of the Board of Directors and councilor Yasuchika Negoro(Commissioner)
New Councilors Kenji Edagawa(All-Japan Rubber Baseball)
Kenji Sato(Fukuoka Daiei Hawks)
Masatake Yamanaka(Yokohama Baystars)
Yoshio Hoshino(Seibu Lions)
Osamu Ino(C.L.Chief Umpire)
Retired Chairman of the Board of Directors and councilor Hiromori Kawashima
Retired councilors Nobuo Hasegawa
Ryozo Setoyama
Takeo Minatoya
Kenji Ono
Takeji Kobayashi

New Sustaining Members Invited

Since its foundation in 1959 as a museum specializing in baseball, The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has been dedicated to its functions of collecting, preserving, and exhibiting materials on baseball and its related sports. We now have about 30,000 artifacts and photographs, and some 50,000 books and magazines, and we have more than 150,000 visitors per year to the baseball museum and the baseball library. We have honored baseball greats by inducting them into the Hall of Fame through annual elections by the Selection Committee for Players and the Special Selection Committee.
Sustaining members are expected to endorse and support the above projects by paying the membership fees.

Privilege of Sustaining Members

Sustaining members receive the following:
1. Quarterly Newsletter
2. Complimentary ticket valid throughout the year
3. Five courtesy tickets for five non-members (Individual membership)
Twenty courtesy tickets for twenty non-members (Corporation membership)
4. Occasional News Release

There are two kinds of sustaining members. (The yearly membership is valid from April to March)
1. Individual membership (Membership fee is 10,000 yen)
2. Corporation membership (Membership fee is 100,000 yen)
* The membership fee for new sustaining members varies according to the month when they join.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask the Management at 03-3811-3600

On sale 1) pinned badge, \500, with Baseball Museum logo
2) Official Baseball Guide 2004, \2,900
3) Official baseball stamped with gApproved by Commissioner NPB.h
Unobtainable at sporting goods stores \1,600
Also obtainable by mail. Mailing charge is \250 per ball.
\400 for 2 or 3 balls
(More than 3 balls are not available at one purchase)

Guide to the Museum: (1) The Museum will be open 10:00~18:00 from March.
(2) It will be closed on the following Mondays:
May 10, 17, 24, and 31
June 14, 21, and 28
July 5 and 12

p.8 Essay (16) On the 70th Anniversary of Japanese Professional Baseball

Makoto Tatebayashi, Chunichi Sports
Member of the Selecting Committee for Players

It was on December 26, 1934, that the Dai Nippon Tokyo Yakyu Club, the predecessorof the present Yomiuri Giants was born. It was 70 years ago, and the Japanese baseball Organization itself, which was inaugurated in 1936, seems to show its age nowadays.

The first symptom was the attempt by the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, one of the oldest club in the Pacific League, to sell their name to a potential supporter. It met with strong oppositions and they had to recant the selling. This incident clearly showed the long-standing problem of deficit-ridden operation of many teams, not only in the Pacific League but also in the Central League. Pro baseball has been harassed by rising annual salary, lingering depression, and exodus of leading players to the MLB.

Now it is high time a reassessment of Baseball Agreement must be made in accordance with the change of times and in view of the whole development of pro baseball. For example, interleague games should be introduced. It is reported that the new commissioner is personally in favor of games across the two leagues. If the interest of general fans were taken into consideration, they should cross the Rubicon now. If this may be called medical treatment of the organization, change in self-control must also be made, It may sound vague, but it means that each and every pro baseball club should be more attentive to the feelings of baseball fans. It should do everything possible to be loved by baseball fans. This aspect has long been neglected in Japan, and it was reported that even Ichiro, too much preoccupied with his batting practice, was taken to task when he was rather reluctant to autograph for the fans. Fans must first before business.



 

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