.p1 2007 Hall of Famers Elected
Fumio Kobayashi, President
The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which was founded in 1959 to honor baseball greats who have made a great contribution to the development of baseball in Japan, announced its Hall of Famers for 2007 on Friday, January 12, 2007.
The Screening Committee of the Selection Committee for Players met on Tuesday, January 9 and confirmed on tabulating the ballots sent in from its members that Takao Kajimoto, former Hankyu Braves pitcher, was duly elected to the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, the Special Selection Committee met on Wednesday, January 10 and elected Reiichi Matsunaga, manager of Team Japan at the Los Angeles Olympics, as the successful candidate. (The details are dealt with in Pages 2-3.) The total number of the Hall of Famers is now 161 (SCP, 70; SSC, 91).
The announcement of the 2007 inductees was made at a press conference at the Baseball Hall of Fame at 3 p.m. on January 12 with a brief explanation on the results of the election by each representative of the two selection committees. The new Hall of Famers were given a certificate of their induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame from the two managing directors on behalf of Yasuchika Negoro, Chairman of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, who made the opening speech.
Kyoko Kajimoto, widow of the late Takao Kajimoto, said in her acceptance speech, “I’d like to express my deepest thanks on behalf of my deceased husband to all the people who have given a strong support to his induction. I believe he is glad of his honor in his grave.” Confessedly Matsunaga has long harbored a suspicion that baseball world has not done due justice to managers. “So I am all the more glad to think that I am credited with bringing up many players who have contributed to the world directlly and indirectly through baseball.”
The press conference ended with congratulatory speeches by two guest speakers: Masaichi Kaneda, 89th Hall of Famer with a career record of 400 wins, on Kajimoto, and Masatake Yamanaka, who
notched 48 wins at Hosei University under manager Matsunaga and now managing Director of Yokohama BayStars, on his former mentor. Kaneda admitted Kajimoto had a superb pitching ability far surpassing his and said that Kajimoto’s induction had long been overdue. Yamanaka, also a left-
handed pitcher, followed the footsteps of his mentor throughout his 42-year career and boasted himself his best disciple. “He is the mentor of mentors,” he declared.
The Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, July 20, at Tokyo Dome, when the first game of the All-Star Games is to be held. Their bronze plaques will join the other baseball greats at the Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 21.
Photo left: 2007 Hall of Famers and the executives of the BHFM.
(front, left to right) Reiichi Matsunaga, Kyoko Kajimoto.
(back, left to right) Tadao Koike, Yasuchika Negoro, Hajime Toyokura.
Photo right: 2007 Hall of Famers and guest speakers.
(from left to right) Masatake Yamanaka, Reiichi Matsunaga, Masaichi Kaneda, Kyoko Kajimoto.
p.2 Inductees by the Selection Committee for Players
Teruaki Yonetani, Representative of the SCP
Electors eligible to vote for election to the BHF by the SCP are those members who have an experience of reporting baseball for 15 years or more. The present membership is 313.
Eligible candidates are those players, coaches, managers and umpires who have ceased to be active in their respective careers at least five (5) years preceding the election. The election comes to effect when two thirds or more of the total ballots are valid. Electors may vote for at most ten (10) eligible candidates deemed worthy of election. Any candidate receiving votes on seventy-five percent (75%) of the valid ballots are elected to membership in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This year the total number of the valid ballots was 305, and therefore the eligible number was 220. Out of the 35 candidates prepared by the Screening Committee, only Takao Kajimoto received the necessary number of ballots (261) for election.
Anecdotes and Records
Kajimoto died on September 23, 2006 at the age of 71, much to the regret of all the people who wished for his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his life. If he had been elected one year earlier, he could have expressed his happiness in person at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Kyoko Kajimoto, his widow, who attended the press conference on his behalf, said, “At his funeral last year, many mourners expressed their regret for my husband’s belated induction. I was glad to know many people were sincerely wising for his earliest recognition as a Hall of Famer. I am sorry he is not here by me, but I believe he is glad now.” A week before he died, she did not miss the words he let slip on the bed at the hospital. “Yamada did it this year.” She was well aware that it was a blow to him that Yamada, his junior colleague of the Hankyu Braves, had been elected to the BHF ahead of him. She encouraged him, “Cheer up, dear. It will surely be your turn next year.”
Masaichi Kaneda, a 400 winner in the Central League, expressed his admiration for the power pitcher in the Pacific League in his congratulatory speech. “With his splendid pitching technique, he did his best for the Hankyu Braves before they became a powerhouse. Many batters found it difficult to connect his balls.”
When he joined the Hankyu Braves in 1954 on graduating from Tajimi Technical High School, he was picked by manager Nishimura as the starter in the opener, a fabulous feat for a rookie just out of high school. He won the game 5 to 3, and went on to 20-12 in that first season. In his 20 years of pitching career, he won 20 or more games in a season 4 times, the most being in 1956 when he won 28 games and was elected into the Best Nine lineup. On the other hand, he was not propped up by strong batting. He once had to bat third and suffered 15 losses in a row. From the mid 1950s through the 1960s, he was one of the twin mainstays of the Hankyu Braves with the right-hander Tetsuya Yoneda, who notched 350 wins in 22 seasons and was elected into the BHF in 2000. Kajimoto led the PL in most SO 2 times (1956-57), and appeared in the annual All-Star games for 12 years. He struck out 9 consecutive batters in a game on July 23, 1957, still the Japanese record shared only by Masayuki Dobashi in 1958. His other career records as a pitcher: 867 G (3rd), 254 W (9th), 255 L, 4,208 IP (6th), 2,945 SO (6th) and 2.98 ERA.
After retiring in 1973, he coached the Hankyu Braves for 5 years (1974-78) and managed the team for 2 years (1979-80). The manager turned its coach (1981-85), unusual but like Kajimoto to do. Later he coached two other teams: the Orix BlueWave (1989-93) and the Chunichi Dragons (1998-99). His career record as a manager: 260 G, 133 W, 111 L, 16 ties and .545 WA.
p.3 Inductees by the Special Selection Committee
Daigo Tamura, Representative of the SSC
The Special Selection Committee met in Tokyo Dome Hotel on Wednesday, January 10, attended by all of its 13 members. Their first duty was to confirm the list of eligible candidates prepared by the Screening Committee. Two successful candidates of 2006, Hiromori Kawashima and Yasumitsu Toyoda, were deleted and three new ones, Toshio Naka, Yoshinori Okoso and Tsuneo Harada, were added to the list, totaling the number of the candidates to 15. The electors made an open vote with plural entry. As a result, Reiichi Matsunaga (11) received votes on seventy-five percent (75%) or more of the ballots cast and was elected to membership in the Hall of Fame. The unsuccessful runner-up were Seiichi Shima (9), hero of pre-war Inter-middle high school baseball and Noboru Aota, slugger of the Yomiuri Giants.
Matsunaga was born in Kita-Kyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture on November 3, 1931. As second baseman of Fukuoka Yahata High School, he participated in the National Invitational High School Tournament in 1950. He went on to play at Hosei University, but an injury prevented him from playing the full season in the senior year. He found, however, his proper element in managing a baseball team after graduating from his university in 1955. The Best Manager Award bestowed on him in 1984 by International Amateur Baseball Association epitomizes his brilliant career as manager.
As manager of Hosei First High School (1955-63), he entered the NIHSBT (1960) and the National High School Baseball Championship (1961). As manager of Hosei University (1965-70), he won 6 times in the Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League and most notably won the 17th National University Championship in 1968. Among many players coached by him are two sluggers: Koichi Tabuchi (the Hanshin Tigers, later the Seibu Lions) and Koji Yamamoto (the Hiroshima Toyo Carp). As manager of Sumitomo Metals (1971-80), he won the Japan Baseball Championship twice (1977, 79). He led Team Japan to the Bronze in the 3rd Inter-Continental Cup Tournament in Nicaragua in 1977. To top it all, Matsunaga Japan defeated the seemingly invincible U.S. team in the final game of the Olympic tournament in Los Angeles in 1984. The eight days of international competition paved the way for baseball’s inclusion in the 1992 Olympics as a ful-fledged medal sport.
He also held important posts on JOC, Japan Amateur Baseball Association, and the Baseball Federation of Japan. He was particularly active in promoting baseball and improving its skills as chairman of the Committee for Technical Guidance of the All-Japan Baseball Congress, which combines pro and amateur baseball. He is now an honorary member of the JOC.
In his acceptance speech, Matsunaga talked about Nobuo Fujita, his senior manager of Hosei University and 1987 Hall of Famer. “To bring up players to observe rules, manners and etiquettes in daily life rather than to produce many star players has been my inherited motto in my long career as manager.” He was, as was told by his best disciple, Masatake Yamanaka, a principal who liked to hold a long meeting with players to make them completely aware of his teachings. No other managers have so many pupils turned managers as Matsunaga has, so he is admittedly the leader of baseball managers.
p.4 Column: Many to See, Much to Enjoy (21)
A Trip to Cooperstown
Yoshihiro Ohkubo, Supporter of the Baseball Museum
Toward the end of April in 1981, I left Narita Airport with my wife and made a stopover at Anchorage where we took a visa inspection at midnight. In New York, we spent 5 days doing the sights, visiting famous museums and the now extinct “Top of the World” where we enjoyed a beautiful night scenery over dinner. On the 6th morning in New York, we left for Cooperstown by Pine Hill Trailways bus. It was a long but pleasant and untiring 5-hour trip in the lingering winter through the gentle hills with sparsely populated towns in upstate New York.
We checked in at Otesaga Hotel and took a late lunch. We walked along a quiet avenue to the Baseball Museum and went up to the library, where the librarian Redding with whom I had made an appointment, greeted us and explained the books and materials there. Then we made a tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame downstairs. We stopped at each of the bronze plaques of baseball immortals, almost forgetting the time. In the underground, old newsreels were showing the heroes in the old days. When we went out of the museum again, dusk was thickening into night and the street was lit up by lights from a local movie theater.
On the next morning, it was shuddering cold outside, but the morning mist spreading out beneath our eyes over Lake Otsego was wonderful indeed. After breakfast, we strolled on the golf course along the lake. Back in the museum, we took a second tour. The only item on display at the tiny Japanese corner was, strangely enough, a photo of Lefty O’Doul standing in the coach’s box in geta with high supports, and holding a coarse oil-paper umbrella. After visiting the Doubleday Field, we took on the afternoon bus back to New York.
When I was a third-year student of junior high school in 1949, I watched a game between the San Francisco Seals and the All-Japan. I first took a great interest in the vast American baseball system when I read in a promotion pamphlet that the S.F. Seals belong to the Coast League which is the apex of more than 50 Minor Leagues in the U.S.A.. Information on the ML was almost none compared with that of the Major Leagues which were amply available through the increase of baseball exchange between Japan and the U.S.A.. Bookstores in America, not to speak of local counterparts, proved no help for me. I made several inquiries to the headquarters of the ML, only in vain. So I made up my mind to make a research by myself. It was in the summer of 1980 when I called on the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It was lucky of me that lending out service was available in those days (unimaginable in these days). Probably I got a special permission from Director Junji Ohno to copy all the Minor League records from the annual Official Baseball Guides available at the Baseball Library. By the spring of 1981, I had finished copying all kinds of records of about 2,300 leagues spanning 80 years in the 20th century. Now it was time to make a research on the 19th century ML in Cooperstown. Luckily I found a help in Ryuichi Suzuki, part-time correspondent working for the museum since its inauguration in 1959. He had visited Cooperstown in 1976 and knew the staff over there. Junji Ohno recommended him to write a letter of introduction for me. Thus my trip came true availing myself of the first sabbatical leave in 20 working life.
I made my second trip there in August for myself. The scenery along the way to Cooperstown had changed completely. All the towns were thronged with vacationers. Redding had prepared a roomful of materials and I spent 5 well-filled days. Meanwhile, I joined the SABR (which was organized in 1971) on advice from Clifford Kachline, historian of the museum since 1970. He was in preparation for compiling the Authentic History of the Minor Leagues, and he was busy inspecting the box scores of overwhelming 400,000 games! Under the auspices of SABR, the book was published 12 years later in 1993 under the new title of the Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball.
On the way back to New York，I was filled with a sense of satisfaction and, strangely enough, a feeling of liberation. I made a good use of my sabbatical year. Since then, retiring at the age of 66, I have re-visited Cooperstown and several Major League stadiums from time to time. It is about time to make a trip to Cooperstown which I promised to Andrew, one of my grandsons. This time I hope I will make a leisurely trip as an ordinary tourist. (The end)
p.5 Inductees Remembered (14)
“Whereabouts of the bereaved are unknown…….”
Yoshimitsu Kirihara, 2nd son of Shinji Kirihara, 1984 Hall of Famer
It was on January 28, 1984, when the induction of my father into the Baseball Hall of Fame was reported in the newspapers. He was elected by the Special Selection Committee, not by the Selection Committee for Players. It was a little surprise for his family, for he played for Keio University in the middle of 1920s and contributed in 1925 to the resumption of traditional baseball games between Keio Nine and Waseda Nine which had been stopped since 1906. [N.B. He was categorically elected by the SSC by the Selection Rules.] Anyway it was an unexpected and unpre-contacted good news for our bereaved family and I remember calling the baseball museum with joy.
It was reported in the Tokyo Chunichi Sports on that day that Kirihara had been killed in the last war in 1945 and that whereabouts of the bereaved was unknown. The situation must have been the same at sports department of the Mainichi Press, where I was working for arts department. They may not have been aware that his son was working quite near under the same roof. I must confess that we had a feeling that they should have made a closer research to locate us.
I was born in February of 1942, and my father died from a disease contracted in the front in Luzon Island of the Philippines. As he was reportedly drafted in July, 1941, so naturally I have no living memory of my father. According to my eledest brother Hiroyuki, our old house was within earshot of Koshien Stadium, where the Inter-Junior High School Championship Tournament was held every summer. The drawing room was full of trophies, souvenir photos and 8 mm films from my father’s
baseball tour in America. But it was burnt down in the massive air raid of Osaka-Kobe district on August 3, 1945. I still remember a redden sky and sea, but I am sure if it is the same with this air raid.
By the way, the June 26, 1988 issue of Mainichi Graph carries a photo of baseball-loving Prince and
Princess Kayanomiya with Babe Ruth taken at Yankee Stadium on August 15, 1934.Together with them is my father, who was then a Mainichi correspondent in New York and acted as their guide.
Novelist Yasushi Inoue was among the many people who knew my father. As my job was to cover literary world, I met many writers. When I met him, he took an instant interest in my name. He had worked for Osaka Maichi Press before he became a novelist. “I remember the head of the economy department there named a Kirihara.” To this, I answered, “Yes, that is my father.” He beamed and said, “Then you are a son of that Kirihara nicknamed flying swallow?” With his wide fielding as shortstop, my father was often called by that nickname. But how come it was uttered by a famed novelist who later was awarded an Order of Cultural Merit? He continued, “He was more popular than Nagashima.” He meant the very super star Nagashima. He was surprisingly interested and versed in the contemporary pro baseball.
Playwright Hisashi Inoue wrote “Flowers blossoming in the Dark.” The hero was a baseball player whose short life was buffeted by the turbulence of the last war. In the Troupe published by his company at its first public performance appear two lists of baseball players who were killed in WWⅡ: one is for pro baseball, and the other for Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League. My father’s name is to be found in the latter. He is also enshrined, together with 171 other players, in the Monument for Amateur Baseball Players who were killed in the WWII and which was dedicated by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2005. (See Newslettter Vol.15, No.4)
p.6 Rara avis （58）
WBC Championship rings
Takahiro Sekiguchi, co-curator
The WBC Championship Ring was awarded by Nippon Professional Baseball to all the members of Oh Japan at Pro Baseball Convention which combined the party in celebration of their victory in WBC 2006. Each ring is inscribed inside with “2006 WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC JAPAN NATIONAL TEAM.” Two replicas modeled on the ring for Oh and Ichiro have been produced for display at the Baseball Museum. They are now on display together with other memorable items from WBC at the Entrance Hall. For details of the ring, please visit the following website:
News from Baseball Library Reiko Yamane, Co-librarian
I will introduce some of baseball literature for juveniles available at our baseball library. Baseball makes a good theme for novels for boys and girls. Recently Battery (originally written by Atsuko Asano and published by Kadokawa Co.) has been much talked about and made into a film. It deals with baseball on the theme of friendship and trust. Besides, many baseball books on players and techniques have been written especially for young readers.
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 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.
Privileges of Sustaining Member
Sustaining members are entitled to receive the following:
- Quarterly Newsletter
- Complimentary ticket (i.e., member’s card) valid throughout the year. This ticket is also valid for the National Baseball Hall of Fame
and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
- 5 courtesy tickets for non-members (Individual membership)
20 courtesy tickets for non-members (Corporation membership)
- Occasional News Release
- 10% reduction to the items on sale at the baseball museum
- The Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum 2002 with addenda
(New individual sustaining members only)
- 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.
- Individual membership (Membership fee is 10,000 yen)
Overseas membership fee is 100 dollars)
- Corporation membership (Membership fee is 100,000 yen)
Overseas membership is 1,000 dollars)
- Junior Membership (Primary and junior high school students.
Membership fee is 2,000yen
*The membership fee for new individual sustaining members varies according to the month when they join.
From April to September: 10,000 yen
October to December: 5,000 yen
January to March 2,000 yen
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask the Management at
1) Changes in Officials
New trustees Shozaburo Kobayashi
Supervisor of Japan Student Baseball association
Managing Director of the Yokohama BayStars
Director of the Orix BlueWave
Retiring trustees Takahiko Beppu
2) 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 time.)
Admission: 400yen (300yen) Adults
200yen (150yen) Primary & Junior High School students
(* Per person in groups 20 or more)
NOTICE: On and from April 1, admission fee for adults will be raised to 500yen.
At the same time, a new category will be introduced.
Senior citizens aged 65 or more: 300yen
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 Dome.
N.B. In other words, during the coming three months, the museum will be
closed on February 5, 19, 26, March 5, 12, 19, April 9, 16，and 23.
p.8 Essay (27) Red Ruffing, “I won’t stay long there, so ……..”
Yoshio Nishida, Member of the Special Selection Committee
All the Japanese baseball fans now eagerly imagining Fenway Park: Matsuzaka is warming up before the game. Later Okajima is ready to relieve him. As for me, the stadium reminds me of an interesting anecdote in a certain book of baseball lore which I read in the 1960s. There was once a righthanded pitcher who used to appear whenever the Boston Red Sox were losing the game. His name was “Red” Ruffing. It was one day in 1929. The team had been floundering for a decade since the owner traded Babe Ruth to New York Yankees at an absurdly high price of 200,000 dollars. On that particular day, too, the Yankees took a long lead in midway of the game. Ruffing was a reliever, or set-upper as is called now. But actually he was a pitcher who was placed on the mound when defeat was certain. The righthander was 24 years old, and had lost 25 games in the previous year and was to lose 22 games that year, ending as the most losing pitcher for two successive years.
He knew it was time to relieve as usual. He went to the bullpen, a box of sandwiches in his right hand. Unlike the notorious, voracious eater Babe Ruth, he was always taking snatches. He took a piece of sandwich and began a light pitching practice. He meant to take an ample meal immediately after, but at that very moment, he was summoned to pitch. “Who I’m gonna pitch?” Another reliever said innocently, “Ruth,” and after a pause, added, “and Gehrig and then … Meusel.” He came back to the bench and packed his sandwich box firmly. He said, “Don’t touch it. I’ll be back in a moment,” and left the bullpen, with a nonchalant shrug.
It was long afterwards that I knew quite an intriguing career of Ruffing. His given name was Charles Herbert and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967 in his last year of eligibility! Considering his early lack of success, his improvement in moving from Boston to New York is amazing indeed. (N.B. Yankee manager Higgins was interested in him, seeing his strength, forseeing durability and effectiveness, and knowing that Yankee power could give Ruffing the support he deserved.---BaseballLibrary.com) He was 0 –3 for the Red Sox, but went 15-5 for the Yankees that year. Ruffing combined with Lefty Gomez to give the Yankees an almost unbeatable 1-2 punch in the 1930s. He put together four straight 20-victory seasons (1936-39), coinciding with four straight World Series championships for the Yankees. In World Series, for that matter, he was 7-2 (1932-42), tying him for second place in wins behind Whitey Ford. His 273-225 in his 22 years of career was remarkable considering that he lost four toes on his left foot in a mine accident when he was a teenager, which hastened a transition from the outfield to the mound.