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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.16, No.2

p.1   Induction Ceremony for the 2006 Hall of Famers     
Fumio Kobayashi
President
   
      On Friday, July 21, Hiromitsu Kadota, Morimichi Takagi, Hisashi Yamada, Hiromori Kawashima and Yasumitsu Toyada were honored at the Induction Ceremony held on the playing field of Meiji-Jingu Stadium preceding the start of the first game of the 2006 All-Star games. More than 30,000 spectators enjoyed watching the baseball intermezzo.

      Kadota, Takagi and Yamada were elected by the Selection Committee for Players, Kawashima and Toyoda being elected by the Special Committee. Kadota, who played for the Nankai Hawks, hit 567 home runs, the 3rd record in history. Takagi, second baseman of the Chunichi Dragons, was famous for his backhand toss. The submarine pitcher Yamada was the mainstay of the Hankyu Braves in their heyday in 1970s. Kawashima was the 10th commissioner serving two terms (1998-2004). Toyada was shortstop of the Nishitetsu Lions when they won the Japan Series for three successive years (1956-58).

The Induction ceremony was held near the pitcher’s mound. The new inductees stood beside their plaque surrounded by the managers and the All-Stars of the CL and PL lined on the foul lines. Their profiles were projected on the Super Color Vision. Each of the Hall of Famers was presented with a replica of his plaque from Yasuchika Negoro, Chairman of Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It was followed by inductees’ acceptance speeches.

Kadota said, “I’m very glad to appear before so many spectators again. Baseball made me what I am now. Baseball is the best sport indeed.” Takagi gave his thanks to people he competed hard with. Yamada also thanked his teammates and fans to whom he said he owed his honor. “I am very happy I dedicated my life to baseball.” Kawashima said, “I feel very honored to receive the highest reward in baseball.” Toyoda, who is still active as a baseball commentator, referred to the recent trend in baseball. “We just have to keep going the increased attention of people to baseball since Japan’s victory at the 2006 WBC. Hurrah to the Ibaraki Golden Golds!” (N.B. IGG is an amateur baseball club led by popular comedian “Kin-Chan.” It was reported then that Kin-Chan had decided to disband the team owing to a scandal of one of his players.

Unprecedentedly, the ceremony had its second part when the bottom of the 5th inning was over. Five inductees appeared again on the playing ground in the same setting as was before the game (see the photo) and received a bouquet from their dearest acquaintances: Kadota from Masaichi Kaneda (1988 Hall of famer), Takagi from Shigeru Sugishita (1985 HOF), Yamada from Toshiharu Ueda (2003 HOF), Kawashima from Hajime Toyokura, President of the Central League, and Toyoda from Tadao Koike, President of the Pacific League. They had a standing ovation from the capacity of spectators, and All-Stars and managers lined near-by. The two-part ceremony ended successfully in a contrasting atmosphere.

P.2   Summer Events at Baseball Museum

A)  1.  Special Exhibition: Photo Report on 2006 WBC
hursday, July 20 through Sunday, September 24, 2006
At Exhibition Room and Entrance Hall

More than 70 photographs give highlights of the 2006 WBC by showing all of the eight games Team Japan played from the first game in the Asian round to the final and the succeeding award ceremony in San Diego. The winning ball in the final game and other memorable artifacts, spikes worn by MVP-winning pitcher Matsuzaka, for example, are on display at two venues.

2   Special Exhibition: 2006 Hall of Famers

Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, September 24, 2006
At the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The exhibition showcases the achievements of five 2006 Hall of Famers: Hiromitsu Kadota, Morimichi Takagi, Hisashi Yamada, Hiromori Kawashima, and Yasumitsu Toyoda, with the exhibits of their artifacts, photographs and career records.
Their plaques, which are on display at this exhibition, were shown to the spectators in the Induction Ceremony at Jingu stadium on July 21 when and where the first game of the 2006 All Star Games was played. They will be hung on the wall of the Baseball Hall of Fame on September 26 and join the other 154 immortals.

B)  1  Baseball Study by Elementary and Junior High School Students
Thursday, July 20 through Sunday, September 3, 2006
At the Baseball Library

Baseball terminology, statistics, and history of baseball will provide good topics of study for elementary and junior high school students. They can study these topics as their independent research in the subjects of arithmetic, science, social studies and language.
The librarians are ready to show them how to read books in the library and use artifacts on display in all sections of the baseball museum.

2  Demonstration of bat making
Friday, August 11 and the following day
11:00-12:00, 13:30-14:30, 15:00-16:00
At the Baseball Hall of Fame
In cooperation with Mizuno Corporation.
The craftsman at work will welcome any questions on bat making.

3  Hands-on Experience of Producing a Glove a parent-child team
13:00-15:00 Sunday, August 13, 2006
At the Baseball Hall of Fame
In cooperation with Mizuno Corporation.
Entry: pairs of elementary school student and his/her parent. Entry fee 3,500 yen per pair including admission tickets. When their glove is completed, the entrants can take it home.
(The application was accepted by postcard or application form within the museum,. with applicant’s name, address (and e-mail address), phone number, and his/her dominant hand. The deadline was Thursday, July 13. Successful applicants (decided by lot) were notified later from the Museum).

p.3 Inductees Remembered (12)
Recollection of my father        
Hiroshi Ichioka
Second son of Tadao Ichioka, 1962 HOF

  My father was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as early as in 1962, which made us realize that he had made a greater contribution to pro baseball in Japan than his family were aware of. He was then 70 years old and regrettably died in two years. I was told by his players that he was severe in their discipline, but once out of the playing field, and especially at home, he was always reticent. Actually ever since he got involved with baseball, he always had baseball on his mind. Many people joined in celebrating his induction, and he was particularly glad that his old teammates and acquaintances at his alma mater (Kyoto Commercial School) held a celebration for him. I remember listening to his speech on a tape in which he thanked the guests from the bottom of his heart.

He went on to play baseball at Waseda University as player, captain and manager.He played in the Tokyo Big Six League which was at the apex of baseball in Japan.
But when the Waseda Nine played against American teams both in the U.S. and in Japan, he was deeply impressed by the better caliber of American players in every aspect of baseball. When he was involved in inaugurating pro baseball in Japan, he used to say, “ Though American baseball is predominantly strong now, it is desirable that Japanese teams become as competent as American counterparts. The World Series should be played eventually between Japan and America. For this purpose, we must organize a strong pro league in Japan.”

Pro baseball has had many ups and downs since it started in 1936. Especially its resumption after a year’s suspension in WWII was the greatest difficulty to overcome and his efforts with other baseball people are still in my living memory. Today due to the incessant efforts of people concerned and the support of baseball fans, Japanese pro baseball has achieved an unprecedented popularity and prosperity. Since 1964 when my father died, 26 players have played in the MLB and this spring Team Japan won the trophy in the inaugural WBC. If he were alive now, how glad he would be. Every time I visit his grave, I make a point of reporting current baseball news to my dear father.
               
p.4  Rara Avis (56)  
    
WBC Championship Cup and Tour Schedule                                            
Takahiro Sekiguchi, co-curator

    WBC Cup arrived in Japan on March 22 with Team Japan and moved to Fukuoka with Oh and the players of Fukuoka Soft Bank. It was on display at Yahoo Japan Dome on March 25 to 27 when the opening games of the Pacific League were played there. Then it went on a two-month tour around the country, stopping at 11 franchises and Tiffany & Co., (the Cup creator) in Tokyo and Osaka. It arrived at the Baseball Museum on May 18 and was on exhibit there until June 19, except on June 6 when it moved to Jingu Stadium where the All-Japan University Baseball Championship was held. Since June 20, it has been on a three-month tour across the country.

Let me quote a passage from 2006 World Classic Media Guide.
  
    The sterling silver trophy, which was created by Tiffany & Co., stands 25-inches tall and weighs 30 pounds. It took Tiffany & Co. master artisans more than 200 hours to create the piece. The design, inspired by the World Baseball Classic logo, features a ‘global baseball,’ with longitude and latitude lines and vermeil stitching of a baseball, as its centerpiece. The ball grows from a 4-tiered diamond-shaped base, representing the 4 rounds of the tournament, and broadens into the signature logo collar, comprised of 4 separate elements, representing the 4 pools made up of the 16 teams participating in the inaugural event.

      The Championship Trophy for the inaugural World Baseball Classic was presented to Team Japan, the winner, after the tournament Final at PETCO Park in San Diego, California on Monday, March 20. It is to be understood that, unlike the Prime Minister’s Cup for the Japan Series, and Konami Cup for the Asian Series which are given ad hoc to the winner and to be given to the next winner, Team Japan is perennially in possession of the Trophy.
             
     For WBC Photo Exhibition, please see page 2.
                                   

p.5   Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (19)

      Recollections of umpiring career, and a request   Yuichi Tanimura
                                               Supporter of the Baseball Museum
                                               Former CL umpire

       One of the remarkable occurrences in the 2006 WBC, in which Team Japan won the coveted trophy, was apparent misjudgments by umpires and their improper make-up in the whole tournament. In the local pennant races, too, umpires have received many complaints from managers, and an active umpire died from fatigue and another one fell unconscious during the game.
       
        After umpiring in high school baseball, I turned pro in 1959, the very year when Oh joined the Yomiuri Giants and Murayama the Hanshin Tigers. For 27 years until I retired in 1986, I judged so many games that I experienced a complete shambles from time to time. In the 7th game of the 1978 Japan Series, I had a persistent complaint from Manager Toshiharu Ueda (the Hankyu Braves) about a home run hit by Katsuo Osugi (the Yakult Swallows) into the left bleachers of Korakuen Stadium. His complaint lasted 79 minutes and finally Commissioner Kaneko had to take measures beyond the rule to settle the matter. In a game between the Hiroshima Carp and the Hanshin Tigers at Hiroshima Stadium in 1964, the trouble in the game triggered violence among the spectators, who destroyed parts of the building. The game ended in “no game” and the following two games were canceled. In another game, some rascal actually dropped a bomb. There were other happenings. A streaker ran into the ground. A game was suspended when power was shortcut by a snake going up a lighting steel tower. 
        The most memorable game I judged, however, was the last game at Koshien Stadium between the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants in October, 1973 when I felt ambivalent for my job. It was the last game for both teams for the season. As the Tigers lost a game on the preceding day, both teams were co-leaders in the pennant race and I felt honored to serve as the ball umpire. The Giants won this crucial game and consequently the 9th consecutive pennant. The disappointed Hanshin fans got mad and mobbed down to the visitors’ dugout. It scared me to think I would be the first target of their attack, but they took no notice of me! I felt relieved and at the same time humiliated.

        I was fortunate to get valuable advice from many people. Commissioner Kawashima said, “All people but myself are mentors.” Ryuji Suzuki, president of the CL never failed to encourage me. Hidenosuke Shima, chief-in-umpire of the CL told me to be humble and sincere. My other seniors, Osamu Tsutsui, Nobuaki Nidegawa, and Saburo Yokozawa, were no  exception. Tsutsui: “When in need, just use your common sense.” Nidegawa: “Have a strong faith in yourself. Be confident and stand with a straight back.” Yokozawa’s agile movement was always a model I tried to follow. I had two great mentors when I judged in high school baseball. Tatsuo Saeki, president of HSB Federation, told me why it was difficult to judge in amateur baseball, but at the same time, he encouraged me to become a pro umpire. I used to judge with Eiichiro Yamamoto, later vice-president of Inter- national Baseball Federation, in All-Japan High School Championship Tournament at Koshien Stadium. He always emphasized the importance of well trained umpires both in amateur and pro baseball.

        No games can be played without umpires. Trying to be always correct in their judgment, they are working hard to conduct a baseball game properly with deep knowledge of baseball rules and to enable the spectators to enjoy watching games to the full. They are as requisites for baseball as are players, managers, coaches, baseball clubs, leagues, Commissioner, mass media and fans. I sincerely hope that every body concerned with baseball will keep a warm eye on umpires doing their job under pressure and give them moral support.

 
 p.6     Library News               Lost ballparks in Tokyo

                                                         Reiko Yamane
                                                         Co-librarian
                                   
         For old baseball-loving Tokyoites, the ballparks they ever entered to watch   
         pro baseball games occupy a hallowed niche in the corridors of memory (A 
         perceptive reader will recall a passage in Lost Ballparks by Lawrence S.
         Ritter).
         The following is the names of the ballparks, years of existence. and capacity.
         The word Kyujo consists of two parts:kyu (ball) + jo (place).
       


1.

Kamiigusa Kyujo

1936-38, 1950

29,500

2.

Susaki Kyujo

1936-38

23,000

3.

Green Park

1951

51,000

4.

Komazawa Kyujo

1953-61

25,000

5.

Tokyo Stadium

1962-72

30,000

p.7   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 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 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:

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

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 is 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)

*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.
     

B)   News from the Baseball Museum

1)The combined meeting of the board of directors and the board of trustees was held at Tokyo Dome Hotel on Monday, June 12.
Among the projects for 2006 was the increase of individual and junior members, and increment of visitors by attractive exhibition and active propagation of information.

 2)Changes in officials

         New Trustees   Eiji Hatta, vice-president of Japan Student Baseball
                                        Association 
                                  Masayuki Naito, Secretary General of Japan Student Baseball                                           Association
           Retiring Trustees   Yasuaki Nara
                                        Kiro Osafune
                              

3)Obituary

Eiichiro Yamamoto, 1997 Hall of Famer, passed away on May 26.
Naotaka Makino, 1996 Hall of Famer, passed away on July 18.
 

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 Yen(*300Yen) Adults
                200 Yen(*150Yen) Primary and junior high school pupils
               (*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 every day until September
10. It will be closed on September 11, 25 and October 2, 16, 23 and 30.

 

p.8 Essay (25)          Midsummer Classic  
                      
Hiroshi Takebayashi
NHK, Osaka

 As many as 64 Major Leaguers of the both leagues come together from all around the country to participate in the All-Star Game, a midsummer festival, otherwise known as midsummer classic in America. It is a great honor to be selected to play in the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby on the preceding day. Both events are held in the midst of excited fans and also widely televised both in the U.S.A and Japan.

There is another attraction which is not known to the general public. It may be more accurate to say that they do not have access to it. This is the press conference which only media people are privileged to attend.

The All-Stars arrive at the designated hotel by the night two day before the Game. On the following noon, two press conferences are held back-to-back each for 30 minutes, attended by 32 All-Stars of each league. They sit in a row against the wide wall in a big conference room whose desks are taken away for the occasion. Any reporter is free to ask questions to them, but as a matter course, famous players, like Bonds and Ichiro, are always surrounded by many reporters. In a free-for-all conference like this, it is a good maneuver to accost to lesser-known players. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to ask Robb Nen (SF Giants):“Why do you put down your stepping foot lightly once before you deliver?” and Mariano Rivera (NY Yankees):“How did you learn your cut fastball?” The conference is open to the mass media from all over the world, who are then ready to report their coverage to all the kinds of viewers and readers.

When the conference is over, All-Stars practice in the afternoon and the selected long hitters take part in the Home Run derby at night. After the All-Star Game, the participants go back to their pennant race across the country. I cannot but feel respect for them who manage to go through these hard schedule with ease.

The MLB also presents an open press conference at the World Series in fall. Preceding each game, the conference is held attended by the managers and the starters in the following day. The managers are not secretive about their lineup. What they have talked about is taken down in shorthand and become available in print in less than 20 minutes. I cannot but marvel at the quick and intensive information process. The MLB is well conscious that MLB is not a genuine American sport in that many players are of different nationalities, so that these events are objects of attention from abroad. The MLB is proud of living up to the world-wide expectation.

 



 

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