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|Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.16, No.1
p.1 Multi-purpose Hall Converted
Fumio Kobayashi, President
The Multi-purpose Hall, which had been used for conferences, meetings, and exhibitions since the Baseball Museum opened within Tokyo Dome in 1988, has been renovated as a venue to be used exclusively for exhibitions.
The main purpose of the renovation is to give our vast collections of artifacts, books, photos, films and other baseball items more opportunity to be shown to the visitors than possible by being displayed at permanent Exhibition Rooms. With the wide and continued cooperation of pro and amateur baseball organizations and individuals, the Baseball Museum now boasts about 30,000 items and 50,000 volumes of books and magazines. Availing ourselves of the full range of these valuable items, we intend to hold occasional and timely exhibitions throughout the year to acquaint the visitors with fascinating wonders of baseball.
A special care has been taken in the recent renovation of the Multi-purpose Hall to enable the exhibits there to stand out and make their presence felt by the visitors with increasing sense of expectations. The whole room has a comfortable atmosphere with a general color scheme of black. The four walls are equipped with meshes to be used for any kind of exhibitions. Adjustable lighting from spotlights can provide the best lighting to any kind of exhibits. Any size of items, from a 3-meter long Japan Series pennant to an autographed baseball, can now be put on display there.
The renovation of the Multi-purpose Hall has put the finishing touches to a series of renovations conducted with a unified image since last year in front of the entrance, at the reception desk, beside the stairs (i.e., the installment of en elevator), and at the entrance to the Baseball Hall of Fame downstairs. It is my sincere hope that by now our Baseball Museum, though housed within the big Tokyo Dome, is not being dwarfed in the exterior by it and, in the interior, we can meet the expectations of the visitors who want to experience the bodily sensation of the strength and passion of baseball.
p. 2 Rara avis (55)
The winning ball of the 2006 WBC on display
Miwako Atarashi, Takahiro Sekiguchi, Co-curators
The winning ball won by Team Japan in the first World Baseball Classic and other items related to it （photo left）have been on display since Friday, March 24, at the WBC Display Corner in the Entrance Hall downstairs. They have been enthusiastically watched by many visitors who were glad to revive their fond memory of the wonderful feat by Team Japan in San Diego.
The corner started on March 7 after the first round of the WBC round-robin competitions in Asia was over. The Rising-Sun Japanese flag autographed by all the members of Team Japan and the winning ball in the first game against China on March 3 were put on display in expectation of Japan’s spectacular showing in the 2nd and final rounds.
Team Japan returned to Japan on March 22 triumphantly. We’re talking shop, we’re afraid, but we were glad to put the valuable items on display after a rewarding overtime work on March 23 to be in time for public showing on the following morning.
We owe much to staff writers at Baseball Magazine Co. to have all the members from diverse teams autograph the Rising-Sun flag. Replacement of the two members made the job the more difficult.
(photo right) On the winning ball of the final game with Team Cuba are the date (March 20, 2006) and “On top of the world—we feel great” written by Sadaharu Oh, Team Japan manager, and his autograph. The ball behind is the winning ball from the first game against Team China in the first round (March 3, 2006).
The winning medal weighs 206 grams, and its diameter is 75 millimeters (about the same as that of a baseball), its thickness being 5 millimeters. On the obverse (photo down left) are inscribed “WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC CHAMPION 2006” and the victory trophy and on the reverse (photo down right) the WBC logo with the names of the 16 countries and areas, plus “SAN DIEGO.･CALIFORNIA･USA/INAUGURAL TOURNAMENT.”
p.3 (photos up left and right) Spikes worn by ICHIRO. They are surprisingly light. The photos show how the weight reduction were realized. They are lighter by 15 grams than the low-cut ones in our possession which he wore in 1996.
(photo middle left) Spikes worn by pitcher Shunsuke Watanabe. Confetti were strewn at the award ceremony at Petco Park after the final of the WBC 2006. A few pieces of confetti are still visible on his spikes.
(photo middle right) Spikes worn by pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. He won the MVP. A small “Hinomaru” (the Rising-Sun flag) is sewn on the heel.
(photo down) Glove used by Kohji Uehara. He pitched a scoreless, 3-hit game until the 7th inning against Team Korea in the semi-final.
(Transcript) Congratulatory message by Prime Minister Jun-ichiro Koizumi
March 22, 2006
Congratulations on the victory in the first World Baseball Classic. Like all the Japanese people, I watched the nail-biting semifinal and the final games on TV rooting for Team Japan. I feel very proud that all the members of the national team of Japan under Manager Oh were undaunted by unexpected upsets on the way and defeated the invincible Team Cuba to become the world champions by exerting team spirit like the Japanese that they are. Finally I do hope you will continue to contribute your efforts for the sake of all the baseball fans throughout the world.
(Signature) Prime Minister of Japan
To add to these exhibits, bats used by Matsunaka and Ichiro and the victory trophy, which is being shown to the public at each of the 12 franchises across the county, will arrive in the middle of May. The WBC Special Exhibition will continue till the end of the coming summer vacation when visitors from all over the country are expected.
Welcome to the Baseball Museum, everybody!
p.4 Column: Many to See, Much to Enjoy (18)
Ex-announcer at Nippon Hoso/Supporter of the Baseball Museum
I became an announcer at the age of 22 and began broadcasting pro baseball games at 27, that is, some 40 years ago. It was at Korakuen Stadium and Shinji Hamazaki was with me to comment on the game. The ex-manager of the Hankyu Braves was called a don of the baseballdom and later in 1978 was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He spoke encouragingly to me, but I do not remember how I covered my first game, not to speak of the names of the teams involved.
Sports announcers are unique in announcers in that all fields of their work with the exception of sports broadcasting are invaded by TV talent. Some of them have tried, but none of them have succeeded. Sports announcers have a monopoly of sports broadcasting.
Why? Many reasons can be said for it. To mention a few, they have to ad lib the whole reporting. They have to be strong enough, bodily and mentally, to do the job for many hours. If they cover baseball games, they must know almost everything about them. They must be good at interviewing managers, coaches, and players. There should be good teamwork with their commentator.
They are busy outside of stadiums, too. On the average they spend three hours to prepare data from newspapers. They get to the stadium at least three hours before the game and get everything ready for his broadcasting. Their studio is not always comfortable enough. Lack of sleep will inevitably lead to a bad job. I must confess that out of more than 1,500 games I have covered, there are only a few in which I made the job in the best condition.
What attracts me, then, to sports broadcasting with all these handicaps? First, I am second to none in loving sports. Second, the job is beyond the abilities of all but sports announcers. Third, I can monopolize broadcasting and can talk freely for a certain hours. But freedom entails responsibility. Poor job never fails to invite severe criticism. In recollecting my forty years of broadcasting career, I must own I have never been able to cover baseball games perfectly well. But I could not help it, because, as everybody will admit, a baseball game is a drama without any scenario.
p.5 Inductees Remembered (11)
Recollection of my dear father, Sotaro Suzuki
Yoko Suzuki, his stepdaughter
Tour conductor belonging to Global Youth Bureau
Last year saw the 70th anniversary of pro baseball and the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. It was quite natural that I was unusually busy interviewed by mass media and getting materials on Sotaro ready for them, because he did a great contribution to the development of pro baseball in Japan. It was a memorable year when I indulged myself in fond reminiscence of my dear father. Two events come to mind now. On September 2, 2005, I was invited to the opening ceremony of Suzuki Sotaro Cup Baseball Tournament in Isezaki, his birthplace. On July 6, “Men who made Pro Baseball--American Tour in 1935”, one of the episodes in the popular documentary Series entitled “Discovering History,” was broadcast on TV by NHK. Sotaro was the business manager of the Tokyo Giants, Japan’s first pro team which was formed in 1934 and went on a 6-month baseball tour in America in 1935. The tour proved the foundation of pro baseball in Japan. I was much impressed by the part Sotaro played in this epoch-making baseball tour.
I became acquainted with him in his seventies and ever since I helped him with his work. He wrote articles on baseball and for this purpose he was ardent in gathering news from American newspapers which were inaccessible to general readers in Japan. He kept a diary for a long time. Many volumes of his diary, together with letters, memos, clippings which are inserted in these pages, are important records of baseball. I am thinking of publishing them in the near future.
He led a regular life throughout the year. Starting from a visit to Meiji Shrine on New Year’s day, he spent his life according to the natural changes of four seasons. He enjoyed daily physical exercise and walk (there were three routes in his repertory). He had his favorite hospital, dentist, barber’s, and Japanese and Chinese restaurants. Even his daily shopping was done only at his favorite shops. Born in the good days of Meiji, he always wore kimono at home and changed to western suit and trench coat on going out. His lifestyle shows a strange but natural mixture of Meiji Era and things American: Japanese traditional measurement with pounds & yards, wooden bathtub with western toilet, and kotatsu with double bed.
He spent most of his life in a house on a hill overlooking the Port of Yokohama and Tokyo Bay. [N.B. Near his house is the playground of YCAC, where baseball has long been played by foreigners since 1880s.] It may safely be said that living in somewhat exotic Yokohama in the epoch-making days of Japanese history, he spent his whole life to his full content and did his great job of spanning the Pacific Ocean with baseball. His motto was that pro baseball cannot be said pro unless it entertains spectators. Nothing will please him in his grave more than the victory of Team Japan under manager Oh in the 2006 WBC.
p.6 News from Baseball Library
Korean Pro Baseball Introduced
Reiko Yamane, Librarian
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pro baseball in Korea, I have decided to deal with a chronological history of pro teams in Korea. Korean pro baseball started with 6 participants in 1982 in one-league system. The 7th team joined in 1986 and the 8th in 1991. A two-league system was adopted exceptionally in 1999 and 2000.
Yearbooks, Fan Handbooks and scrapbooks on Korean pro baseball are available at our Baseball Library.
p.7 News from the Baseball Museum
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 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:
- Quarterly Newsletter
- Complimentary ticket valid throughout the year
- 5 courtesy tickets for non-members (Individual membership)
20 courtesy tickets for non-members (Corporation membership)
- Occasional News Releases
5* The Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum 2002 with addenda
(New individual sustaining members only)
6* Baseball Museum original pin
(New junior sustaining members only)
There are three 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. Overseas
Membership is 1,000 dollars)
3) Junior membership (Primary and junior high school students.Membership fee is 2,000 yen)
Obituary Motoji Fujita, 1996 Hall of Famer, passed away on February 9, 2006.
Events during the “Golden Week”
- 2 BBM baseball cards will be presented to the first 2,000 primary and junior high school students apiece. This offer is valid on Saturday, April 29 through Sunday, May 7.
- Hit and get a prize!
Hours: 11:00—12:00, 14:00—15:00
Days: Wednesday, May 3, and Thursday, May 4
At “Batter Up!” in the Event Hall, any primary and junior high school student with his or her admission ticket can try his fortune at batting. Prizes will be given according to the number of their safety hits.
- On Sale: Official balls used for 2005 All-Star games. Generally available.
Selling starts at 10 o’clock on Saturday, May 6.
24 balls for Invoice Seibu Stadium and another 24 for Koshien Stadium
will go on sale. They cost 2,500Yen per ball.
The maximum available is one ball for each stadium apiece.
On Special Sale: Baseballs authenticated by NPB
Authentication mark has been changed. (See the photo)
1,600Yen per ball
Available at the Reception on the ground floor.
Mailing service is also available. Mailing charge is 250Yen
per ball, and 400Yen for two and/or three balls.
Remittance should be made by registered mail.
Inquiry by phone is requested for ordering more than 3.
Official Baseball Guide 2006
Indispensable companion for every pro baseball fan!
2,900Yen per book.
Guide to the Baseball Museum
The entrance is located to the right of Gate 21 of 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
Admission: 400Yen (300Yen *) Adults
200Yen (150Yen *) Primary & Junior High School students
(* Per person in groups 20 or more)
Closed: Mondays except those
1) during the spring and summer vacations,
2) that fall on National Holidays,
3) when a pro baseball game is held at Tokyo
N.B. As stated in 1) above, the Museum is open every day July 11
through September 10.
Editor’s Note Akiko Ogawa
As was expected, the exhibits at the WBC Corner have been attracting a huge crowd of curious visitors since March 24. With the winning ball and confetti-studded spikes right in front of them, no one can help reviving the sensation they felt at Japan’s victory over the invincible Team Cuba.
The next issue of Newsletter will be a little late due to the Induction Ceremony on
p.8 Essay (24) WBC 2006
Gotaro Nagase, Sport Nippon
Director of Selection Committee for Players
On the turf lit brightly by cocktail beams, manager Oh was tossed up in the air. Around him a big hinomaru flag was swung briskly and jubilant players were showered with confetti.
The final of the first WBC at Petco Park in San Diego was just over. I seared into my eyes the scene of Team Japan becoming the first champions by defeating the strongest amateur team from Cuba.
It was actually the second time I had the honor to be on the scene of tossing a player in the air in triumph, an unheard-off practice in America. In the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, when baseball was played as an open event, manager Reiichi Matsunaga was tossed up three times in the air, being moved to tears with joy.
What is common in the process of capturing the gold medal in the Olympics and the Victory trophy in the WBC is that Team Japan had to give up all hope at first but availing themselves of Good Fortune they eventuated well in the end.
Japan was defeated in the Asian championships in 1983 and was to be eliminated from the Olympics in 1984. It happened, however, Cuba joined USSR in boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics [N.B. The Moscow Olympics in 1980 was boycotted by the USA!] and as a result, Japan got a godsend of entry in the Olympics.
In the second round of the 2006 WBC, Japan suffered two defeats--one from South Korea (for a second time) and the other from the U.S. after losing a key run due to an umpire’s blooper. Still, the Goddess of Fortune smiled on Team Japan. Mexico’s 2-1 victory over the U.S. in the second round of “Pool 1” enabled Japan to advance to the semifinals. All of the three teams had a 1-2 record, but Japan narrowly excelled the U.S. in the run-allowing rate.
At both occasions Japan took full advantage of a one-in-a-million chance. On the other hand, there was a big difference between the two: the interest shown by the public. In the semifinal and the final games, the instant TV audience rating exceeded well over 50%, a feat possible only to Team Japan with the sense of the national flag on their shoulder.
To Japanese baseball, the 2006 WBC proved to be kamikaze, divine wind. It has demolished a shallow argument that as the audience rate of the Giants’ games wanes, so baseball’s popularity has waned. And it also reconfirmed that baseball still has strong appeal to the baseball fans.
There remain many problems in the management of the WBC, but we must be grateful to the MLB for their efforts to realize the first world-wide competition. Let me express, however, my humble opinion: next time they hold the WBC, they must give ear to the defending champions.
(photo left) The gold medal won by Team Japan in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
（photo right）(left) Winning ball from the first game of the first round.
(center) Winning ball from the final in San Diego.
(right) Gold medal from the 2006 WBC.