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|Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.15, No.3
2005 Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown
Fumio Kobayashi President
On Sunday, July 31, only 9 days after the Induction ceremony in Japan, I was fortunate enough to attend the Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, a privilege no other persons connected with BHFM in Japan have ever enjoyed.
Cooperstown, the site of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, is located about 200 miles northwest of New York. It usually takes more than five hours to go there by bus via Kingston and Oneonta, but we took the alternative route of going up along the Hudson River by Amtrak to Albany where we were picked up by a car sent from the Museum. The whole trip took us about 4 hours.
Cooperstown is a beautiful summer resort on Lake Otesaga, which extendssome 10 miles north and south. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum stands on a one-third-mile-long Main Street, which is lined with many baseball souvenir shops, and dotted sporadically with small restaurants. The population of this baseball town is only 2,200, but at the time of the annual Induction Weekend toward the end of July and early August, it swells up to 25, 000.
As in the past decade, the Induction Ceremony was held in the vast playground of the Clark Sports Center, about a mile south of Main Street. A big pavilion with a stage inside was put up on the ground just across the street from the Sports Center. In front of the pavilion were arranged about 2,000 chairs for various kinds of guests, roughly divided into A and B groups, encircled in a surrounding palisade. Beyond this, over 20,000 fans were on the lawn watching the ceremony under the scorching sun. Scores of young volunteer helpers were ever on the stroll to supply water in plastic bottles to thirsty guests.
The ceremony was preceded by attractions, the entrance of 48 homecoming living Hall of Famers with oral and visual introductions on the screen. When the two new Hall of Famers, Boggs and Sandberg, appeared on the stage, the spectators greeted them with unending standing ovations. The ceremony began with the invocation delivered by Father Corral of the Dominican Order who confessed incidentally he was a Cub fan. The American national anthem was played on the trumpet and Gary Carter, a Hall of Famer, sang the Canadian. The names of baseball people who died in the past year were shown on the screen by way of expressing their condolences. Then the winners of the 2004 J.G. Taylor Spink Award and the 2005 Ford C. Frick Award were honored with a plaque. Their Acceptance Speeches were full of their recollections.
The Induction Ceremony for the 2005 Hall of Famers consisted of an introduction of the players on the screen, a reading of their inscriptions byCommissioner Selig, and presentation of the plaque by Jane Clark, Chairman of the NBHFM. First Wade Boggs made a 13-minute Induction Speech. He repeatedly expressed his thanks to his friends and family, especially to his father. “Daddy, I wouldn’t be up here without you. I owe everything to you. My mentor, my idol.”He also missed his mother who died in 1986. His lifetime record includes 3,010 hits, 5 batting titles, and 12 successive appearances in the All-Star Game. He played in the MLB for 18 years and earned election in his rookie season on the ballot.
In his 24-minute Induction Speech, Ryne Sandberg first referred to his philosophy, “ I had too much respect for the game to play it any other way, and if there was there was a single reason I am here today, it is because of one word, respect.” He mentioned his former coaches, managers, teammates, and evenhis opponents with deep thanks. He ended his speech with a moving homage to his wife. His lifetime record includes 2,380 hits, 9 successive Gold Glove Awards (as second baseman) and 10 successive appearances in the All-Star Game. He played in the MLB for 16 years and earned election on the 3rd attempt.
The ceremony ended in 2 hours and 40 minutes. It was really heart-warming to see 48 Hall of Famers return to Cooperstown to welcome the new members to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and more than 28,000 fans come all the way from every part of the country to this remote place to pay respect to their baseball idols. With Boggs and Sandberg, the membership of the Baseball Hall of Fame now totals 260.
Summer Events at Baseball Museum End
1) Baseball Study by Elementary and Junior High School Students
Elementary and junior high school students were welcomed to do their independent research during the summer vacation. The suggested topics were history of baseball, baseball gear and baseball stadiums, but theywere free to choose any other topics. They consulted books, magazines,and newspapers at the library, and materials provided by Mizuno Sporting goods Company and Nagase Kenko Com.
The breakdown in the diagram shows how many students selected which particular topics. One of the students, a fourth grader who chose baseball gear as his theme, wrote to the Museum to their joy that his work was selected to represent his school and was put on display at an exhibition in his city.
2) Demonstration of bat making
The demonstration proved as popular as it was last year. It was done on August 12 and 13 at the Baseball Hall of Fame (photos in the middle).
The craftsman Watanabe showed the producing process and answered questions from the floor. He also talked about the bats used by Ichiro and Matsui.
3) Hands-on Experience of Producing a Glove
Ten pairs of elementary school pupils and their parents were selected by lottery from many applicants and given an opportunity to do the last process of glove making by stringing gloves. As a reward of their 2-hour work they were given the glove of their own making.
Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (16)
Pleasure of visiting baseball museums in America (cont.)
Akira Matsubara, supporter of the Baseball Museum
Let me begin by mentioning two people who are extremely infatuated with baseball. First, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Crump. They run Dome Souvenirs plus the Free Baseball Museum just outside the left stand of the Metrodome in Minneapolis selling goods of two franchise teams, the Twins and the Vikings. The shop is crammed with coveted items for the fans. “Before the club moved to the new franchise here, I worked in the administration office for Mr. Calvin Griffith, owner of Washington Senators. He liked me and gave me commemorative items on occasions. I am happy to show them to the Twin fans.”
No less remarkable is Mr. Bob Zimmer, who runs the Heritage Museum in his jewelry shop, “Sissor.” I came to know him when I glanced through the Cleveland Indians Yearbook. He has been keen on helping redevelop the downtown of Cleveland. He specializes in the Negro League, Women baseball, and the Minor League. All of his items are very valuable indeed. What is unique about them is that they are on sale. “I am ready to part with them to anyone who is interested in them. I will build a good museum some day. Please be sure to come and visit it then,” he proudly said.
Another unique museum is a bat museum in Louisville, Kentucky, run by the Louisville Company. It is the only museum in the U.S. specializing in bats. A gigantic bat in front of the entrance is visible from far away, so visitors cannot miss it. Everything about bats, not to speak of how to make them, can be learned there. On the list of the many players using Louisville bats can be found 22 Japanese players.
The Cardinals Museum is in front of Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. It shares the same building with a bowling museum. “Bowling has a long history in St. Louis. We expect a larger admission by catering to the two sports.” Nonetheless, the Cardinal exhibits including their uniforms are good enough to understand their history.
The Nero League Museum is in downtown Kansas City, the former franchise of the famous Monarchs. There is a diamond-shaped mini field inside, where the best nine in Negro baseball history stand in still action of pitching, batting and running.It is a must for all the fans who are visiting there to watch the Royals.
Even at an airport you will come across a baseball exhibit. At the UA gate of San Francisco Airport, plaques of baseball greats including that of Joe Dimaggio who were enshrined into the Bay Area Sports Museum are hung up on the pillars. You can also see a special corner dedicated to Wally Yonamine at the International gate of Honolulu Airport. Coming from Hawaii, he made a splendid showing in Japanese pro baseball and was elected into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Space does not allow me to dwell on museums run by states and cities. Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (Portland, OR), The Oklahoma SM (Guthrie, OK), Bal Boa Park, Hall of Champions SM (San Diego, CA), Cobo Center, Michigan HF (Detroit, MI), Georgia SHF (Macon, GA), New England SM, Fleet Center (Boston, MA) --- all these museums are worth visiting and will remind you how earnestly these districts take great care to promote baseball and how wonderful American baseball is.
(To be continued)
Inductees Remembered (9)
My uncle Masaru Kageura Takao Kageura, nephew of Masashi Kageura, 1965 Hall of Famer
I have never met my uncle. It is quite natural because I was born in 1949 while he was killed in the war in 1945. So I was told of everything I am going to write here from Ken-ichi, my father (who also turned pro and pitched for the Asahi) and his teammates at Matsuyama Commercial School, his alma mater.
Every one who knew him thinks of him as a glutton, a man of strong arm and a slugger and many stories were told about these aspects of his character. Though he ate much, he could not drink at all. When he dined with my father, he was absorbed in eating, letting his brother drink alone.
His throwing from the right field to third base or to home plate was like an arrow and no outfielders were able to cope with him. In his university days, he visited Matsuyama during the summer vacation and coached his juniors, hitting fungoes to the outfielders for practice. Thus he reportedly learned the knack of hitting a long ball. The two brothers played against each other once in a game (when it was is not certain). My father said he was scared to pitch against his legendary brother. Sure enough, the batted ball whistled past the pitcher’s mound.
Another anecdote as a precursor of his future strong batting says that when he tipped a ball at the plate, even bystanders some distance away from the backstop smelt a scorch by friction between the bat and the ball!
His family’s house was burned down in an air raid and many of the items left by the dead uncle were reduced to ashes. Fortunately a silver bat which he had received when he won the batting title in 1937 survived the fire. I used to swing the bat for practice. I was once severely scolded by my father when I was caught batting a hardball (lightly I would like to believe) with it. (editor’s note: As the writer confesses, the bat in question now kept by the Baseball Museum has a slight dent on the down part!)
Rara avis (53)
Takahiro Sekiguchi, co-curator
A baseball autographed by Oh and Nagashima at the 2000 Japan Series
ON stands for a strong batting duo of the invincible Tokyo Giants in the 1960s and 1970s like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees in the 1920s.
Fate decreed that they would eventually engage in a battle for the championship in the Japan Series in 2000 as the managers of Fukuoka Daiei Hawks and that of the Tokyo Giants respectively. The Giants defeated the Hawks 4 to 2, and won the championship for the first time in 6 years. It was their 19th victory in the Japan Series.
The commemorative ball arrived here on October 20, the day preceding the Japan Series. It was an official ball to be used in the Japan Series with “Tokyo Dome” printed between their autographs.
Incidentally, this was the second Japan Series competed in by managers who had been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1965, Tetsuharu Kawakami (Tokyo Giants) and Kazundo Tsuruoka (Nankai Hawks) were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame and vied for the championship in the Japan Series in that year and in the following year. Nagashima became a Hall of Famer in 1988 and Oh in 1994.
The current Japan Series Exhibition at the Multi-Purpose Hall, which will last until Sunday, November 27, is celebrating its 56th anniversary by tracing history with memorable items---photographs of the annual champions, posters, admission tickets, and uniforms worn by managers and players who showed splendid performances in its long history. Also being shown are a movie digest of the Japan Series between the Tigers and the Lions in 1985, and the one between the Giants and the Hawks in 2000.
At the baseball library anyone can see the Japan Series of any year on the monitor TV.
Reiko Yamane, co-librarian
Available at the baseball library are various kinds of yearbooks and histories published by university baseball clubs and leagues across the country. The oldest one cited here was published in 1925, the latest in 2005.
A)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 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 selections 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 Member
Sustaining members are entitled to receive the following:
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 Releases
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. Overseas membership fee 100 dollars)
2)Corporation membership (Membership fee is 100,000 yen)
*The membership fee for new sustaining members varies according to the month when they join. For October through December:¥5,000 (50 dollars overseas) and for January through March:¥2,000 (20 dollars overseas). In all cases, remittance will be accepted through International Postal Money Order.
B) News from the Baseball Museum
Mr. Junji Kanda, professor emeritus at Tokyo University, died on August 13 at the age of 90. He was a trustee (1963-2000), a member of the special selection committee (1988-2000) of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and took an active part at the move of the museum to the present site in 1988. He is the author of several books on baseball, including “The Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
2) On sale
a)A set of 12 official baseballs prepared by six authorized companies, each company offering 2 balls apiece.￥19,200 (tax included), 300 sets available. It is also available through mail at ¥20,000 including mailing charge.
b) “Kattobashi”It costs ¥1,890 (for adults) and ¥1,575 (for children) and has the logo of the BHFM. Also available are chopsticks featuring each of the 12 pro baseball teams. (for adults only.)
The chopsticks are made of broken bats and the term is a Portmanteau word: “kattobase” (Slam it outta here!) + “hashi” (chopsticks).
C)Introduction of the Baseball Museum
The entrance is located to the right of Gate 21 of the Tokyo Dome.
Hours: 10:00 ~ 18:00 (March through September)
10:00 ~ 17:00 (October through February)
(Visitors are requested to enter at least 30 minutes prior to the closing time)
Admission: ¥400 (¥300*)Adults
¥200 (¥150*)Primary and junior high school students
(*per person in groups of 20 or more)
Open:Tuesday through Sunday, every day of the year except December 29 through January 1
Closed: Mondays except those
1) during the spring and summer school vacations,
2) that fall on National Holidays, and/or
3) when a professional baseball game is played at Tokyo Dome
N.B. The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open exceptionally on the following Mondays until the end of the coming January.
January 2 and 9, 2006
(D) Announcement of the 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee(s)
At 3 p.m., on Tuesday, January 10, a press release on the 2006 Hall of Inductee(s) will be issued at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Anyone interested will be welcome at the press conference.
p.8 Essay (22)Satellite broadcasting of MLB
Ichiro Matsumoto, NHK
Director of the Selection Committee for Players
NHK has televised more than 600 games of the MLB through 3 channels this year. Sometimes three games were on the air on the same day. More American games than Japanese games have been broadcast.
It will be interesting to the viewers to know the inside world of the satellite broadcasting. Surprisingly, except for the All-Star Game and the World Series, all of the games have been transmitted from Tokyo, not on the spot from America. To be more exact, the image sent on the satellite from America is relayed to the Japanese viewers with the addition of a simultaneous play-by-play report by an announcer and commentary by a guest. They are in the studio in Tokyo watching the game on TV and dub in the coverage in Japanese, trying their best to make the viewers feel as if the broadcasting is being made on the spot from America. The images sent live on the satellite do not always provide the scene of the play they want to cover. If they were actually in the stadium, they could see the whole scene with their own eyes and report the play extensively.
As an announcer in charge of this live broadcasting of the MLB games, I have come to realize that MLB is more open than NPB in terms of information they disclose before the games start. For example, Manager Torre of the New York Yankees will always meet the reporters and tell them everything baseball fans want to know about Yankee players.
There seems to be an unspoken agreement among the Major Leaguers. If a bean ball is pitched toward a teammate batter, the pitcher will surely retaliate with one against an opposing batter. If a steal or a bunt is made in a one-sided game, the losing team will, as if their pride is hurt, retaliate with a bean ball. It seems to me that in a confrontation of power with power, respect for the opposing team, and pride in their own is strictly observed in the MLB.