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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.15, No.1
p.1 Opening of a new age Fumio Kobayashi, President

The 2005 season has started in the aftermath of the 70th anniversary of professional baseball in Japan. With the birth of a new team and the introduction of the interleague games, we are expecting a promising new age in professional baseball.

In retrospect, we saw many things in 2004. The MLB opened their season in Tokyo with the New York Yankees playing against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tokyo Dome.

In August, the Japan team won the bronze in the Athens Olympics. The adoption of the playoff system in the Pacific League was a great success, and the Seibu Lions, which had advanced through the playoff, won the Japan Series which went into the last 7th game for two successive years.

On the other hand, in a turmoil of proposed reorganization of NPB, the Players' Association went into strike on September 19 and 20 for the first time in the 70 years of Japanese professional baseball.

Now our Baseball Museum has turned a new leaf. With three mottoes, gPleasant to Play,h gEasy to Understand,h and gA little to Learn,h we are ready to offer many attractions. The new welcome gate in front (photo right) and an elevator at the entrance will provide visitors with easier access to the Museum downstairs.Artifacts at the Pro Baseball Today Corner have been updated. The new Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the merged Orix Buffaloes, and the renamed Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks are duly represented there with their uniforms and goods. The Amateur Baseball Corner is no exception. The data there have been updated, enlarged and revised.

Baseball fans, you are always welcome at our Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum!

p.2 Renovated and Upgraded

1st column
Outlook of the Elevator on 2nd floor (left) and on the 1st floor (right).

2nd column
The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are represented by Koichi Isobe, Tetsuya Iida,Yasuhiro Ichiba, Takeshi Nakamura, Koichi Ohshima, and Takeshi Yamazaki (left).
Amateur corner has been renovated and enlarged (right).

3rd column
Upper view of Pro Baseball Today Corner (left).
Chronological chart of the history of the 12 pro baseball clubs (right).
(The A3-size version is available at 100 at the Baseball Library)

4th column
Event Hall now has Baseball Science Corner and Baseball Stadium Corner.

p.3 Inductees Remembered (8)

Recollection of my dear Father, Takeji gOld Tetsuzanh Nakano
Yoshiro Nakano, President of Museum Library
Eldest son of the 43rd Hall of Famer (1972)

gThe secret of batting is eyes. Look closely at a pitched ball, taking it in the center of the two eyes, and it will look at rest in the air, however fast it is. Then hit it. Has the full moon looked like a globe, not a mere circle?h My fatherfs remark reminds me of gkinetic visionh which is often referred to with regard to Ichirofs batting. He reportedly learned the trick from a juggler in 1905.

He was the second baseman at Ichiko, and was famous for his airtight defense, whence came his nickname gIron(-like) Mount.h (named after the famous fortress in Port Arthur in the Russo-Japanese War). He boasted having committed no errors. Ichiko used to be the strongest team, but in 1904 when he was captain, it was defeated by the rising Waseda and Keio. This disgrace determined his later life. He coached his team assiduously for 16 years, and in the meanwhile served as a fair umpire in big, exciting games between Waseda and Keio.

At long last in 1918 he led the team to defeat Waseda and Keio, helped by the splendid pitching of Southpaw Uchimura, later Commissioner of baseball. He was 37 years old.Once he achieved his ambition, he was now ready to get married. He quit his coaching and began to work for a company.

For the rest of his life until his death at 64, he threw himself passionately into whatever he liked to do, especially golfing and calligraphy. He left a lot of interestingremarks on baseball. (Regrettably they are omitted in this translation.)

I am now 80 years old. I am glad to say that like my dear father I like baseball very much. I played shortstop for my high school team and participated in the national championship tournament before the last war.

P.4 Rara avis (51)

Gloves used by the Rookie of the year Takahiro Sekiguchi, co-curator

One of the main annual acquisitions at the Pro Baseball Today Corner, where each of the 12 baseball teams is represented by their artifacts, is those items used by those players who made a splendid showing in the previous year. When they eventually leave or retire, the artifact will be transferred to the museum collection and kept in store for future use. In this way the baseball collection is expected to get richer and richer as years go by.

Recently we have made it a rule to ask the rookie of the year to donate his most invaluable thing. This year we received a glove from Koji Mise (photo left), who pitched for the Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks and gained 32 saves as the oldest player to get the award, and also from Akira Kawashima (photo right), who pitched for the Yakult Swallows and won 10 games with 3.17 ER.

Exhibition: Records, Records, Records

Tuesday, April 19 through Monday, July 11

Statistics are so often referred to in talking about baseball that baseball has rightly been called ga sport of records.h Many kinds of all-time records since NPB started in 1936|career records, single-season records, and other miscellaneous records|are being shown on panels. The exhibition also display artifacts used by players who have accomplished these great records.

At Information Corner, you will learn how to calculate batting average, earned run average, how to consult books, and how to surf related websites for baseball statistics.

(left) Ohfs bat marking his 800th home run and the ball marking his 756th home run.
(right) Uniform worn by Ichiro Suzuki (Orix BlueWave).

p.5 Essay: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (14)

Pleasure of visiting baseball museums in America (2-1)
Akira Matsubara, supporter of the Baseball Museum

I have written a series of report of baseball museums in America on Monthly Dragons (published in Nagoya). It has already run more than 70 installments.
There are many and various baseball museums throughout America. All of them are valuable cultural heritage, telling a long history of the national game in their respective areas. They have been open to the general public and cherished by generations of baseball fans, from grandfather to son, and to grandson, It has been a moving experience indeed to visit those institutions and see the fans sharing their values and eagerly appreciating the exhibits there.

All of the 30 MLB clubs, without exception, have their baseball museum(of infinite variety) at their franchise stadium. Fans there can enjoy learning the history of their favorite team and players. The Wall of Fame, placed in the back of the center bleachers, of Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles), and the Cooperstown Gallery at Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies) have the same structure, featuring their old stars in framed paintings.

The souvenir shop is just next to the museum at Jacobs Field (Cleveland Indians) and shares the space with it at U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox).

Glass cases are put up on the wall in the concourse at Kaufmann Stadium (Kansas City Royals) and at McAfee Coliseum (Oakland Afs). A detached two-storied building stands near the entrance inside of Ameriquest Field (Texas Rangers). Historical photos and goods are displayed on the walls of the front concourse at Metro Dome (Minnesota Twins) and a walk around the stadium along the broad passage at Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers) will introduce the history of the club to visitors.

The Boston Hall of Fame, where plaques of the same make with those in Cooperstown are put up, is now open at Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), the oldest ball park in MLB. Last but not least, the Monument Park at Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees) is situated at the back of the center field and is open to spectators before the game starts. Even players of the visiting team pay a visit of respect to the plaques of Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, and other Yankee stars.

p.6 Library News Annuals and Yearbooks Reiko Yamane, co-librarian

Annuals and yearbooks are essential in searching annual records. The following publications are available at our Baseball Library.

1 Official Baseball Guide (NPB Organization, 1963`)
2 Baseball Yearbook (TBSBL, 1937, 38, 1946`)
3 Official Baseball Guide (The Sporting News, 1944`)
4 Korean Pro Baseball Yearbook (Korean Baseball Commission, 1983`)
5 Chinese Pro Baseball Yearbook (Chinese Baseball League Association, 1993`)

The following publications, also available here, will be useful for research of baseball prior to the 1930s.

1 Baseball Annuals 1902`1905, 1907`1912, 1913`15
2 Baseball Yearbook 1916`18
3 Athletic Yearbook 1919`43, 1948`53 (Baseball Yearbook renamed)
4 Asahi Sports Yearbook 1954`58 (Athletic Yearbook renamed)
5 Spaldingfs Baseball Guide 1903~39, excepting 1910, 13, 14
6 The Reach Official American League Base Ball Guide 1905~39, excepting 1907, 38

p.7 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 related sports. We now have about 30,000 artifacts and photographs, and some 50,000 books and magazines, and we have more than 120,000 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 selections by the Selection Committee for Players and the Special Selection Committee.

Sustaining members endorse and support the above projects by paying membership fees.

Privilege of Sustaining Members

Sustaining members are entitled to receive the following:
1) Quarterly Newsletter
2) Complimentary ticket valid throughout the year
3) 5 courtesy tickets for non-members (Individual membership)
20 courtesy tickets for non-members (Corporation membership)
4) Occasional News Release

In addition to these, new sustaining members are to be honored with a copy of The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum 2002, A Guide.

The yearly membership is valid from April to March. There are two kinds of sustaining members.

1) Individual membership (Membership fee is 10,000 )
*The membership fee varies according to the month joined:
October to December, 5,000; January to March, 2,000
2) Corporate membership (Membership fee is 100,000 )

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Takagi or Takeuchi at the management (03-3811-3600).

News from the Baseball Museum

On sale: gKattobashih
It costs 1,890 (for men and women) and 1,575 (for children) and has the logo of the BHFM. Also available are those chopsticks featuring each of the 12 pro baseball teams(for men only).The chopsticks are made of broken bats and the term is a portmanteau word: gkattobaseh (Slam it outta here!) + ghashih (chopsticks).

On sale: Official balls approved by Commissioner. Unattainable elsewhere!
The invaluable ball costs 1,600 including tax. It is also available by mail.
Mailing charge is 250 per ball, and 400 for 2 or 3 balls. For more than 3 balls, please make a request by phone (03-3811-3600).

The office of Commissioner conducts a test on the resiliency of balls to be used in the games of the regular season. The ball is catapulted from a high-speed machine to an iron plate. The ratio of the speeds before and after it hits the iron plate (ga coefficient of restitutionh) is mechanically measured. A certain range of the ratio stands the test.. Technically speaking, a ball is eligible if the range is 0.41`0.44 at the projectile speed of 75 meters per second (270 kilometers per hour).

Changes in Officials

New directors: Yoshihiko Miyauchi, Owner of the Orix Baseball Club
Masatoshi Tezuka, Owner of the Hanshin Tigers
Masatake Matsuda, President of Japan Baseball Federatrion
New trustees: Akira Kuroiwa, the Seibu Lions
Masashi Tsunoda, the Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks
Katsuyoshi Nozaki, the Hanshin Tigers
Hiroshi Tanaka, the Yokohama BayStars
Tomoharu Inoue, the Tohoku Rakuen Golden Eagles
Yoshio Maekawa, Chief umpire of the Pacific League

Retiring directors: Yoshiaki Tsutsumi
Wa Tashiro
Shunjiro Kuma
Eiichiro Yamamoto
Retiring trustees: Yoshio Hoshino
Kenji Sato
Toshihiro Makita
Masatake Yamanaka
Takeshi Nagami

Guide to the Museum:
(1) The Museum will be closed on every Monday in May and June
(2) It will be open every day June 28 through September 4.

Editorial Note Akiko Ogawa, Librarian

The next issue of Newsletter will be a little late due to the Dedication Ceremony which is scheduled on July 22.

p.8 Essay (20) Covering the National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament
Shinpei Michiya, NHK, Osaka
Director of the Selection Committee for Players

For a broadcaster like me who works for NHK, Osaka, the real baseball season sets in with the annual National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament towards the end of March. At other stadiums exhibition games of pro baseball are in full swing, and at Koshien Stadium the participating teams begin their pre-tournament practice one team after another. Looking at young players working out on the windy ground, I really feel that the baseball season has just begun. It is still so cold that I must turn up my collar behind the backstop.

What strikes me with wonder is the varied ways of their 50-minute practice. One team begins with a standard pepper game. Another with an inter-squad game. Another with singing their school song. Takamatsu High School team, qualified to enter the prestigious tournament for the first time in 72 years, begins by practicing head sliding on foul territory. How individualistic they are! ,halmost find more interest in them than in actual games.

It is the same with their batting style. The bigger players pull the ball, while the smaller players try to meet the ball firmly. They are encouraged to make the most of their own natural ability.

Some managers are also unique. Hiroyuki Nagasawa, who was the head coach of Japan's softball team in Atlanta Olympics, led the 2-year-old Kamimura Gakuen team to the final game. Kento Yokota, manager of Haguro High School which proved to be the first team in Yamagata Prefecture to advance to the semifinal, was raised in America and had aspired to be a Major Leaguer. When his players catch a fly ball, they call to each other, "I can!" in English. When interviewed after a winning game, he began by saying, also in English, "It's like a dream!" to the great consternation of the interviewer.

A major reform is widely talked about in the baseball world, but after covering the games in the Tournament what seems to be most important and attractive is the individuality of teams and their players. What I emphasized to the younger announcers was that they should try to delve into the inner individuality of the players to induce the audience's interest and sympathy.

As a pro baseball fan, I hope this year will see the start of reformation with lots of distinctive and individual games and performances.



 

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