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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.17, No.1

p.1      New Showcase for Baseball Equipment           Fumio Kobayashi, President
                                                  
We boast a total of more than 30,000 items including artifacts ( bats, balls, gloves, spikes, uniforms) and literature (posters, photographs) and their number is increasing with kind cooperation of pro and amateur baseball clubs, their players and fans in general. But out of these items in store, only 2,000 items are on display at our baseball museum. We have tried to put as many items as possible on display by replacing exhibits on permanent display or holding occasional exhibitions at short intervals. To make up for small space for exhibition, we installed a photo archive on our website last year, and now 50 gloves, spikes and uniforms apiece are open to viewers on internets.

To supplement the present system, two new collection viewers have been set up---a 50- inch touch panel (see photos) at Historic Players Corner, and a 20-inch monitor at the Event Hall. By either touching a finger on the screen or moving the mouse to follow the three-stage directions between spokes of the three wheels, the visitor can see more than 200 of gloves, spikes, uniforms, bats and balls in virtual reality. A uniform, for example, is shown from the front and the usually invisible back, and a ball is shown in enlarged image and from two different angles, enabling the visitor to read autographs otherwise hidden from the view. Please come and enjoy these devices.

p.2      (1)  New Sustaining Members Invited
                                                                             
Since its inauguration in 1959 as a museum specializing in baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has been dedicated to its function of collecting, preserving, and exhibiting materials on baseball in Japan and abroad. We now have about 30,000 artifacts and photographs, and some 50,000 books and magazines. All of these material are available to the visitors at Exhibition Rooms and Baseball library. As the other important function, we have honored baseball greats by inducting them into the Baseball 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 members. They are entitled to the following.

    1. Quarterly Newsletter.
    2. Complementary ticket (i.e., member’s card. See examples on the right. The above is for  individual, and the below for junior members.). This ticket is valid throughout the year, and is also valid for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    3. 5 courtesy tickets for Individual and Junior sustaining members.
      20 courtesy tickets for Corporate sustaining members
    4. Occasional News Release
    5. 10% discount to the items on sale at the Baseball Museum
    6. For new Individual sustaining members, The Baseball Hall of Fame 2007.
    7. For new Junior sustaining members, Baseball Museum’s original pin

There are three kinds of sustaining memberships. The memberships are valid from April to March.

1) Corporate      (Membership fee is 100,000 yen. Overseas, 1,000 dollars)
2) Individual       (Membership fee is 10,000 yen. Overseas, 100 dollars.)
3) Junior            (Membership fee is 2,000 yen)

Application forms are available at the concourse downstairs at the Baseball Museum.
They are also available by mail. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Management by calling 03-3811-3600 (Takagi and Takeuchi).

  (2)  Education Program for Future Curators in Cooperation with Universities
  
Our museum has been cooperating with universities which have courses of study for curators by accepting prospective curators to go through training in practice at museums. Their practice is also an advantage for our museum in that they can supplement the understaffed work at the archives and the baseball library. Two systems of training are available for the students. One is an intensive training in summer vacation and the other is an internship at other months.

From July 20 to September 3, 2006, 18 students from 10 universities in the Metropolitan area, 6 days per student, participated in the extensive training at the baseball library. Their job was to help the primary and junior high school students with their free summer study on baseball. The internship training was first conducted in 2006 in cooperation with Hosei University. A Hosei student worked 10 days in the fall, tidying up the collections in the archives and making image data for collection database. Three of the intensive training students also participated in the internship training. Almost half of the photos on the two collection viewers (see page 1) are  the results of their painstaking work.

These trainings are scheduled to be done in 2007, too, and they are expected to bring a fruitful effect on the three parties concerned---the students, the visitors and the Baseball Museum.

p.3  Inductee Remembered (15)
       My dear father        Hiroshi Ogawa                            
                                     Eeldest son of Shotaro Ogawa, 1981 Hall of Famer

Like many other baseball greats, my father dedicated his whole life to baseball. Born in 1910 in Wakayama City, he entered Wakayama Middle School, which was noted for its strong baseball team. Using his height to advantage and with the strong southpaw built up with stone throwing on Kino River in the childhood, he pitched for his school and led it to the spring and summer national tournaments eight times in five years. In the semi-final of the 1926 summer NT, he struck out eight batters in a row, still the record unbroken. In 1927, his team was granted a tour to America owing to their victory in the spring NT. It finished 2nd in the 1928 spring NT. When he entered Waseda University in 1929, the famous rivalry between Ogawa and Miyatake of Keio University began.
The Keio Nine defeated the Waseda Nine 2-1 in three games in the spring, but the result was just the reverse in the fall.  In November, he pitched for the Waseda Nine against the Keio Nine in the Meiji Shrine Tournament in the presence of the Emperor, but he was badly clouted by Keio batters to lose the game. It was a bitter blow to the southpaw, often recurring in his memory afterwards. Realizing the importance of mental concentration in a big game, he was said to have gone to a temple and immersed in meditation in the style of Zen Buddhism and read scriptures. Unfortunately, due to his illness, his career as a star player ended at an early age of 20 when he was a sophomore.
 
After graduation, he worked for the Mainichi Press as a reporter. His busy life with baseball started in 1949 when he participated in setting up the Shakaijin Yakyu kyokai, the present Japan Amateur Baseball Association. Later he was extensively connected with university baseball, high school baseball, and even rubber baseball. As a don of amateur baseball, he was always on the go, and as long as I can remember, he was traveling far and wide across the country and abroad, and rarely to be seen at home. Sometimes on waking up, I found some cake near the pillow. At other time, I was thrilled at the photos and souvenirs which he had brought back from abroad. He was obliged to attend many parties, but he drank little, and instead he was comfortably smoking cigars or a pipe in a chair.

He rarely dared to show me how to play baseball, probably because he was then too weak, or he did not see any ability in me. He was cheerful at home, but seldom talked about baseball. My mother urged him to write about his brilliant baseball career, but he left nothing written on himself. In his last 10 years he was confined to bed in hospital and died at 70 years of age in 1980. Though he was not able to enjoy good health, he spent a happy baseball life surrounded by good friends in baseball world headed by Mr. Funatsu of Rubber Baseball Association. My mother tended my sickly father faithfully for a long time and died soon after him. She lived a happy life, however, in tandem with my father and she was glad to see him decorated in 1980 and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. They are surely contented with their wonderful life in their lifetime.

p. 4  Rara avis (59)     Gloves made by meister Tsubota
                                               Takahiro Sekiguchi, co-curator

A demonstration of glove making by Meister Nobuyoshi Tsubota was held at the far end of the Baseball Hall of Fame on April 7 and 8 to celebrate the start of the 2007 pennant race. On both days, the demonstration was held two times, starting at 11 a.m. and1:30 p.m. and lasted one hour and a half. Four gloves for four Giants players, Michihiro Ogasawara, Yoshinobu Takahashi, Yoshitomo Tani, and Tomohiro Nioka, were completed being watched by ardent baseball fans. The meister was not silent while doing his job: he explained minutely at every stage of glove making and answered questions from the floor. He even let a boy do a portion of stitching to his
great joy. 

The completed Ogasawara’s glove is now on display at baseball science corner in the Event Hall. The others will be offered as a prize at a future event for young baseball fans.

p.5  Column: Many to See, Much to Enjoy (22)
         Believe It or Not: Marilyn Monroe played a role in remodeling baseball caps
                   Uhei Ohba, Sustaining member of the Baseball Museum

There are many amusing anecdotes in the 73 years of history of pro baseball in Japan, but I was surprised to know that Marilyn Monroe’s visit to Japan led to a radical change in the shape of baseball caps. On February 1, 1954, Joe DiMaggio, the retired Yankee Clipper, came to Japan accompanied by his newly-wed wife. It was his third visit to Japan at the request of the Central League to instruct their teams in the spring camps.

On arriving Japan, he told the Hochi Press that he took his wife with him to show her the
beautiful Japan. They were greeted by Ryuji Suzki, CL’s president, and Shigeru Mizuhara,
manager of the Yomiuri Giants, and a crowd of people gathered there to have a look at the
world-famous Monroe smile. A Monroe panic prevailed everywhere she went. DiMaggio,
meanwhile, visited six spring camps and instructed players energetically. It was then that he
suggested a cap be made of six pieces of cloth instead of eight, whereupon Manager Mizuhara ordered his hatter a cap in the new format.

The hatter who had dealt with the Giants since the very beginning in 1934 was Hideyoshi 
Yagishita. When he was asked by Matsutaro Shoriki to do the job, he did not know anything about a baseball cap. He fervently consulted magazines and books, and came up with a cap with eight pieces of cloth, something like an orange cut into two, stitched together. Twenty years after that, he had an additional problem to solve: he was asked to use better material than flannel which was customarily used in those days. Cashmere and meshed wool were too expensive and he had much difficulty in obtaining adequate material. As for logos, he devised to make them conspicuous by crossing the letters G and Y as is popularly known today.

       [N.B. In the following paragraph, the writer dwells on many other episodes he was       told by Kunio Yagishita, who inherited his father’s job and was proud that he had
      produced Giants caps for nearly 70 years. His story, however, is so episodic for
      the present translator that he humbly asks the readers to allow him to leave it out.
      Let him end the translation by citing the last sentence:
      What have become of baseball caps today if Monroe had not nagged her husband to       Japan?]

Leaving from the subject, DiMaggio seems to have predicted the exodus of Japanese players to the MLB when he said that though small in physique their baseball would attain the level of the Major Leagues once they acquired form in baseball.

p.6  News from the Baseball Library
                                   Reiko Yamane, co-librarian    
                                       
A research was made on the venues used by the six baseball clubs belonging to the Tokyo Big Six Baseball League. They have their own stadium now, but at the beginning each venue was a little more than a playing field with or without a scanty stand for spectators. Sometimes they had to hire a playing ground. Before the present pro baseball started in1936, baseball in Japan was represented by TBSBL and the monthly Yakyukai (Baseball World) in 1910s to 1930s was intent on covering mainly TBSBL and access to each venue and their environments were minutely dwelt on. It will be very interesting to locate the old venues by using a present-day map and trace the history of each baseball venue.

p.7  1)  The Baseball Hall of Fame 2007 published

The up-dated and revised version of The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum 2002,
A Handbook is now available after a five-year interval. The main content is the bios of
161 Hall of Famers inducted from 1959 to 2007. It also contains the following articles.

1) Cenotaph for pro baseball players who were killed during World War II.
2) Monument for amateur baseball players who were killed during World War II.
3) 11 columns on Japanese and American Baseball Halls of Fame
4) Rules for selection by the two selection committees and their changes

It was edited by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and published by Baseball
Magazine Co. It is also available at the receptionist of the Baseball Museum. The price
is 2,100 yen including tax. Mailing service is also available. It costs 2,500 yen
           (including 400 yen as mailing charge) to be remitted by registered mail.
     
          2)   News from the Baseball Museum

            a)Change in officials

New councilor      Tatsuya Yoda, executive director of the Seibu Lions
Retiring councilor    Akira Kuroiwa

             b) On Sale:   Official Baseball Guide 2007   
                     Price           2,900 yen
                     All the records available of NPB in 2006.
                     Indispensable for every pro baseball fan!
 
              c) 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: 500yen (300yen *)   Adults
                           200yen (150yen *)   Primary & Junior High School students
                           300yen                     Senior citizen (aged 65 or more)
                          (* 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 Dome.
                  To conclude, the Baseball Museum is closed on May, 7, 14, and 21,
                  June 4, 18, and 25, and July 2 and 9. 
                  It will be open every day July 10 through September 9.

Editor’s Note   
Coinciding with the start of the new baseball season, two new collection viewers were installed in the Baseball Museum and more than 200 items of valuable equipment are visible in virtual reality (See page 1). Fan books of various kinds are arriving at the Baseball Library. Please come and enjoy new acquisitions.

p.8 Essay (28)  A Precursor of baseball in Japan
                                            Tohru Watanabe
                                            Member of the Special Selection Committee

In the pioneering days of baseball when it was not yet translated into Japanese, “yakyu,” there flourished a baseball player nicknamed “Doumou” (fierce and ferocious) in Tokyo. He was Ippei Machida, a student at Komaba Agricultural School and a leading batter of the Tameike Club which was thronged with excellent players in the whole city. In the days of no mitts nor masks, he recklessly positioned himself just behind the catcher. Naturally he was sometimes hit by a tip and knocked down. He famously braved it out, hit a long homer and ran around the diamond. He was a man of broad shoulders and massive build. He commanded a fastball and a curve. He was mentioned in the History of Ikko Baseball Club as a formidable foe.

He was born in 1870 in Tarumizu at the foot of Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima, some 1,000 kilos down southwest of Tokyo. His family was a descent of the chief chamberlain of a relative of the Shimazu Clan. After graduation, he went back home and pioneered in growing mandarin orange and tobacco. He also contributed to the development of his Osumi district by setting up and running a railway, electricity and ship company. He died in 1945 and his bust was erected in Tarumizu Harbor in celebration of his contribution in his lifetime.

He talked little about baseball, but reportedly said in a round-table talk held by a local press, “Hama uchi was very popular in Kagoshima. That is why I was confident of batting from the very first time I played baseball.” Hama uchi is usually called hama nage, or disk throwing and used to be encouraged to play in the feudal age as a suitable game to train the children of samurai families in martial art. It ceased to be played for some time but was restored in 1963 by a preservation society. It is now taken up by Kanoya Physical Education University, where an effort has been made to preserve, popularize and study the game.

I was lucky enough to see the game in play and to write an eye-witness account. In a rectangular space, 5 players each 5 meters apart stand face to face with their counterparts in the same formation, with a borderline drawn between the two sides. The game starts when the top player in the one side rolls a wooden disk, 6 cm in diameter and 2.5 cm in thickness, towards the other side. A player in the other side strikes it back with a one-meter long wooden stick called botto, a corrupted form of bokutou, wooden sword, If the disk stops and falls down before being hit back by defending players, or if they fail to hit it back and it goes through them and out of their area, one point is given to the offense side. Sometimes the disk flies in the air. It is hit and hit back in quick succession.
It will certainly have suited to train promptness, courage, moving body eyesight and serve as a basic exercise for playing baseball.

The best clutch comes when the disk stops while standing. It is in play. When I watched a game, it happened only once. Jubilant children on offense side rushed around it, but the apparently strongest bully-like boy stole the show by whacking it over the defensive players out of their area and won one point. Certainly there was a reminiscence of the fierce and ferocious Machida in the boy’s behavior. He will never forget the feeling of hitting hama.
I left the playing ground with a great satisfaction, thinking that I happily discovered in a premodern game in a rural Japan a prototypal ground to accept modern baseball.

 

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