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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.17, No.4

p.1  2008 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 2008 at the press conference held at 3 p.m. at the Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday, January 11, 2008, attended by 28 newspapers and TV stations with 86 reporters.
Koji Yamamoto (the Hiroshima Toyo Carp) and Tsuneo Horiuchi (the Yomiuri Giants) were elected by the Players Selection Committee in the Players Division, while the late Seiichi Shima was elected by the Special Selection Committee. The total number of the Hall of Famers is now 164, with 72 elected by the PSC and 92 by the SSC.   

Rules for Election to the Baseball Hall of Fame were radically revised in June, 2007, with special attention to the Players Selection Committee. The new function of the PSC, which has now the Players Division and the Expert Division, is to elect candidates solely from among pro players, coaches, managers and umpires. Players who have ceased to be active for a certain years after retirement are now eligible for election in the Players Division although they are otherwise connected with baseball. It is to be hoped that the induction will not be their goal, but a transit point in their rite of passage and that they will continue to devote themselves to baseball. The Experts Division, which failed to yield a successful candidate in the election this time, is for retired coaches, managers and umpires, and also for veteran players.
Amateur baseball players, coaches, managers and umpires are elected by the Special Selection  Committee together with those who have contributed a great deal to the development of pro and/or amateur baseball in terms of its organization and management.
At the press conference, the representatives of the two Selection Committees made a detailed reports of their selections. The new inductees were given a certificate of their induction from the two managing directors on behalf of Yasuchika Negoro, Chairman of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, who made the opening speech. Yamamoto said in his acceptance speech, “I played for the Carp for life, but I owed everything to good mentors and rivals. This is my best day in my life.”
Horiuchi said that he was honored to be a member of the Giants’ V-9 team, and told about his injury in his second season which he had refrained from referring for years.
 
The press conference was ended with congratulatory speeches by three guest speakers:Takeshi Koba, former manager of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, on Yamamoto; Sadaharu Oh, manager of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, on Horiuchi, his former teammate with the Yomiuri Giants, and Takahiko Beppu, general manager of Meiji University baseball club, on the late Shima, with whom he played together with the Meiji Nine in the days of WWII.
The Induction ceremony will be held at Yokohama Stadium on August 1, at the 2nd game of the All-Stars.
Photo left: 2008 Hall of Famers and the executives of the BHFM.
         (Front row, from left) Koji Yamamoto, Tsuneo Horiuchi, and Takahiko Beppu
                                         on behalf of the late Seiichi Shima
         (Back row, from left) Tadao Koike, Yasuchika Negoro, and Hajime Toyokura.
Photo right:2008 Hall of Famers and guest speakers
         (Back row, from left) Takeshi Koba and Sadaharu Oh.

p.2  Inductees elected by the Players Selection Committee
                                          Teruaki Yonetani, Representative of the PSC

Electors eligible to vote in the Players Selection Committee are those baseball writers who have an experience of reporting baseball for 15 years or more. By the revision of rules for election, the PSC has two categories of candidates: the Players Division and the Experts Division. (For provisions of the rules for election concerned here, please see page 4) As is explained by Kobayashi on page 1, eligible candidates in the Players division may otherwise be connected with baseball after their retirement as players, so it is to be hoped that players turned coaches/managers whose careers are most prominent as players in ball fans’ memory will be considered early on their achievements as players and that the knotty problems involved with “composite” candidates will be solved.
All of the PSC members are eligible in the election for the Players division. They can vote no more than 7 candidates. This year the total number of the valid votes was 308, and therefore the eligible number was 231. Out of the 30 candidates prepared by the Screening Committee, Koji Yamamoto ( 284) and Tsuneo Horiuchi ( 239) received the ballots necessary for election.
Electors for the Experts divisions are regional directors of the PSC and the living members of the  Baseball Hall of Fame elected by the PSC. They can vote no more than 3 candidates. Out of the 10 candidates prepared by the Screening Committee, no candidates received 32 or more ballots necessary for election, only the late Aota getting 23 ballots.
Yamamoto and Horiuchi were contemporaries. Their first confrontation was on April 26, 1969, when Yamamoto hit a double batting in two runs. Their last showdown was October 3, 1983, when Yamamoto hit a home run off Horiuchi who was to retire at the end of the season. Yamamoto’s record against Horiuch: 204 AB, 62 H, and .304 was high enough to make him boast himself, while Horiuchi sort of grumbled, “ Even though his stance was open, he was able to hit the outside pitch very well.”

Profiles
YAMAMOTO, Koji

Born in Hiroshima Prefecture on October 25, 1946.
Graduating from Hatsukaichi High School in 1965, he went on to Hosei University. He played for the Hosei Nine with Koichi Tabuchi and Masaru Tomita ~ the legendary trio  who, under manager Reiichi Matsunaga, the 161st Hall of Famer, did much to build the heyday of the Hosei Nine.
Upon graduation, he joined the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 1969 at the top of their draftees and gained a starting position as an outfielder. In 1975, he led the team to their first pennant in the Central League by hitting 30 home runs and batting .319, by which he became batting champion and won the coveted MVP award. It was about this time that he was nicknamed “Mr. Hiroshima, or Mr. Red Helmet.”
After the retirement of home run king Oh, he was the leading slugger in the Central League, as was proved by his hitting more than 40 home runs for five consecutive years from 1977. Also, he stole 231 bases and won the Golden Glove award ten times (1972-81) ~ well worthy to be called an all-round player who can hit, run and field. He threw and batted right.

After retirement in 1986, he managed the Hiroshima Toyo Carp for ten years in all (1989-93, 2001-05), winning the pennant in the Central League in 1991.
His career record as player: 2,284 G, 8,052 AB, 2,339 H, 1,475 RBI, 536 HR, .290 BA, batting champion once (1975), most home runs 4 times (1978, 80-81, 83), most RBI 3 times (1979-81), best OBA 3 times (1979-80, 83), MVP 2 times (1975, 80). He was selected into the Best Nine Team 10 times ( 1975, 77-84, 86) and into All-Stars 14 times. He hit for the cycle once on April 30, 1983.
His career record as manager: 1,359 G, 649 W, 681 L, 29 ties and .488 PCT.
 
HORIUCHI, Tsuneo

Born in Yamanashi Prefecture on January 16, 1948.
His brilliant performance in his rookie year with the Yomiuri Giants in 1966 on graduating from Kofu Commercial High School was unprecedented. The Wonder Boy  notched 13 consecutive wins from scratch and ended his first year with 16 wins, 2 losses (.889 PCT is still the best in the Central League) and 1.39 ERA (still the best in the C.L.). The fabulous feat won him not only the Rookie of the year but also Sawamura award. It was the 2nd year of the Giants’ V-9, nine consecutive wins in the Japan Series. His continued contribution to it was epitomized by his best year in 1972 when he notched 26 wins (the winningest in the C.L.) and won the MVP award and the second Sawamura award. Also, he won the best pitcher award again in 1974.  
After pitching for the Giants for 18 years, he coached the team for 8 years ( 1984-85, 93-98) and managed it for two years ( 2004-05). He threw and batted right.

His career record as player:560 G, 203 W, 139 L, 3,045 IP, 1,865 SO, and 3.27 ERA. His notable feats include best PCT 3 times ( CL record. 1966-67, 72.), one no-hit, no-run game (October 10, 1967). He was selected into the Best Nine team 2 times ( 1972, 74), All-Stars 9 times, and won the Golden Glove award 7 times ( 1972-78).
His career record as manager: 284 G, 133 W, 144 L, 7 ties and .480 PCT.

p.3  Election by the Special Selection Committee
                                            Yoshio Nishida, member of the SSC

The revision of the rules for election has brought about the changes in the provisions of the rules concerning the Special Selection Committee and its membership. The new function of the SSC is to select eligible candidates from (1) amateur players, coaches, managers and umpires who have ceased to be active for a specified period of time., and (2) those person who contributed, or have contributed, a great deal to the development of pro and/or amateur baseball in Japan in terms of its organization and management. A half of the members of the SSC were replaced because they have become the electors in the Experts division in the Players Selection Committee. The 14 members now consist of active and retired pro baseball officials, active amateur baseball officials, and learned persons versed in baseball.

The Screening Committee prepared a list of 10 eligible candidates in last November, adding Kazuo Ito, Fumiya Tsuta, Kiro Osafune, and Masayuki Furuta. The remaining candidates were Yoshinori Ohkoso, Saburo Kiyose, Masayoshi Sawayanagi, Ichiro Kimijima, Seiichi Shima and “Cappy” Harada. In the election held on January 9, 2008, Shima received 13 votes and was successfully elected to the Hall of Fame after missing by 1 for two successive years. Ohsako fell short by 1 vote though he received 4 uptick to 10 this year.
 His splendid pitching is also recollected by Toshiro Kosumi, his teammate at both Kaiso and Meiji, now 87, who remembers handling a ball only twice in the center field at the 1939 summer tournament. There may be a lot of baseball fans who can remember a war comrade of the father of “Hoshi Hyuma”, the hero of a popular baseball manga, “Star of the Giants” being called by the same name, “Shima Seiichi.”
It is true that his splendid performance lasted only one year, but as Takahiko Beppu remarked, “He could have done more for baseball world in a peaceful time,” his induction is significant because it is a good reminder that only peace has made possible the spring and summer national Inter-High School Baseball Tournaments in Koshien Stadium, which will celebrates 80th and 90th anniversary respectively in 2008 and that the WWII took a heavy toll of young baseball players.

Profile
SHIMA, Seiichi

Born in Wakayama Prefecture on December 15, 1920. He was killed in the battle off the coast of Indochina on March 29, 1945 at the age of 24.
From the first year at Kaiso Middle School in 1935, his team qualified for the national tournament in Koshien Stadium. The five consecutive participations (the first in the summer of 1937) in the national tournament, during which Kaiso with Shima as its ace pitcher was defeated by then dominant Chukyo Commercial Middle School three times, culminated in the spectacular victory in the summer national tournament in 1939.

With his fast and breaking balls, the southpaw shut out all of the 5 opposing teams for the whole 45 innings, allowing only 8 hits, fanning 57 batters and getting 66 infield outs, giving up only 12 flies to the outfield. As a batter, he batted fourth, and went 11-for 20, which helped, with his splendid pitching, lead his team to victory. Moreover he attained a marvelous achievement by pitching a no-hit, no-run game in the semi-final and the final game in succession. Incidentally a no-hit, no-run pitching in the final was repeated by Daisuke Matsuzaka in 1998 after a long interval of 59 years.
Shima went on to Meiji University in 1940 and pitched for the Meiji Nine in the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League, only to be drafted into the army in the last year of WW II.                  
He threw and batted left.

p.4  BASEBALL HALL OF FAME

Rules for Election to Baseball Hall of Fame were radically revised in June, 2007 and the 2008 election was done in accordance with the revision. The following summary is intended to show what is Baseball Hall of Fame and how the Hall of Famers are elected.
The Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in 1959 to honor those baseball greats who have made outstanding contributions to the development of baseball in Japan. Bronze reliefs dedicated to each of the Hall of Famers are hung in the Hall of Fame Gallery as a testament to their achievements and honors.

1  Election by the Players Selection Committee
  

  1. Players Division

Candidates     Pro players who have ceased to be active for at least five (5) years prior
                      to election. Their eligibility shall be valid for further 15 years.
Method of      About 300 electors consisting of active or retired baseball writers for
 Election        fifteen  (15) years or more shall make a vote. Any candidate receiving votes
                     on seventy-five percent (75%) of the ballots cast shall be elected
                     to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
 

  1.  Experts Division 

  
Candidates   (a) Pro coaches, managers, and umpires who have been retired as such
                    for at  least six (6) months prior to election.
                    (b) Pro players who have ceased to be active for more than 20 years.
Method of      About 50 electors consisting of all the living members of the Baseball
Election         Hall of Fame elected by Players Selection Committee, and of its directors
                    shall make a vote. Any candidate receiving votes on seventy-five percent
                      (75%) of the ballots cast shall be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
N.B.  According to the interim measure, the period of eligibility for candidates in the
         players division shall be extended by 5 years to 20 years in 2008. Accordingly
         the years of retirement required of players in the experts division shall be
         extended to more than 25 years in 2008. The period of years extended, however,
         shall be shortened yearly by one
       (1) year until 2013 when it shall be as stipulated in the article. 


 2  Election by the Special Selection Committee

Candidates         (a) Amateur players, coaches, managers and umpires. Players must
                              have been retired for at least five (5) years, and managers,
                              coaches and umpires must have been retired for at least six (6)
                              months.
                          b) Those persons who contributed, or have contributed, a great deal
                             to the development of pro and/or amateur baseball in terms its                               organization and management.
Method of              Fourteen (14) electors consisting of active and retired pro
 Election                baseball officials, active amateur baseball officials, and learned
                             persons versed in baseball shall make a vote. Any candidate receiving                              votes on seventy-five percent (75%) of the ballots cast shall be elected
                             to the Baseball Hall of  Fame.
 
  p.5  Inductees Remembered (18)    Yukio Nishimura, my dear uncle
                                                                 Takaaki Nishimura

We will celebrate the centenary of the birth of our uncle in three years. My father is the youngest of three brothers. The second is uncle Yukio, who was often talked about in my family, but I never saw him because he had gone to the front when I was born. All of my 13 cousins were girls, so I have had to take care of their fathers’ tombs besides my father’s. I also felt destined to follow the step of my uncle and began to play baseball some 50 years ago.
He was an unyielding boy with a strong sense of right and wrong and hated anything that was not fair to him~ the very picture of a boy who helps the weak by crushing the strong. He was not rough, though. His nickname was hippopotamus, probably because the massive vegetarian is usually gentle, but once got mad, even a lion runs away.

He played for Kwansai University, but when back at home in Ise, he never failed to visit his alma mater and trained his junior players in pitching. One of them said to me, “When I caught his balls, I never needed to move my mitt an inch. He had such a good control.”
All of them admitted that he coached them kindly. It was through their good offices that his bronze statue was built face to face with Sawamura’s at Kuratayama Stadium. I was very glad to have his two great teammates~Kenjiro Matsuki and Keiser Tanaka~at the unveiling ceremony. I am told his alma mater high school is also planning to built a bronze statue to celebrate the centenary of the birth of our uncle. A performance by a local theatre troupe two years ago, “Yukio Nishimura ~ A Man of Defiance” did much to popularize my uncle to the local people who seemed to have forgotten their local hero.
He liked sake so much that he was called a son of Bacchus. People often say that he was always on the drink. My grandmother said, “My eldest son is drunk by sake, the second drinks sake, and the youngest ( i.e., my father) does not.” A rumor has developed a life of its own and become a legend. According to my father, when my uncle drank at home in Ise, he always did more running than usual to sweat alcohol off. In his university days, he lost only three games while winning as many as 80 games. Such a wonderful performance was, as my father said, a result of his constant self control. He made a baseball tour twice to Hawaii, and there he got to know my aunt and got married with her later. She said, “His English was good and I could understand it clearly. He always spoke English in Hawaii.” This episode shows that whatever he did, he always stuck to it.  
        
There is a saying that everything begins at Ise. I often find myself insisting that the legendary rivalry between the Tigers and the Giants at the start of pro baseball in Japan had its beginning in Ise where the two great pitchers were born. Both Sawamura and Nishimura who had done much to promote pro baseball in its early days were killed in the last war, but they were the progenitors of the prosperity and development of present-day pro baseball ~ witness splendid performances by Japanese players in the MLB. We should be proud that they were born in Ise. It is quite natural that there is a move to honor the local heroes by holding an annual game between their alma mater primary schools. I want to keep on telling about my great uncle and Sawamura to children to let them have an aspiring dream.

p.6 Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (25)
                               Induction of the father of sandlot baseball
                                         Wataru Yamaguchi, Supporter of the Baseball Museum

I was once transferred temporarily to Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and worked there for four years. I used to play rubber-ball baseball as a student and an office worker, so the baseball museum was my pleasant workplace. This was good news to my fourth-grader son, too, because he belonged to a boys’ baseball club and played rubber-ball baseball every weekend in the playground of a near-by primary school. He often visited the baseball museum and he knew much better than his father about pro baseball players.

In his baseball club, there were about 40 members ranging from second to sixth graders including a few girls. Their activity was supported by volunteer work by their parents, who did many kinds of jobs to keep up their playing. If we compare a whole people who enjoy baseball in Japan to a pyramid, it is topped by pro players, and gradationally downwards, by students and workers who enjoy either rubber-ball baseball or hardball baseball. At the very base of this pyramid, a lot of calf and little leaguers are enjoying baseball throughout Japan.

The work at the baseball museum was varied and busy, and for the small but efficient staff, the most important and straining job was the election of annual Hall of Famers, which culminates in their  press conference in January and induction in July. Many baseball greats were inducted to Baseball Hall of Fame in the years when I worked there, but what impressed and pleased me most was the induction in 2003 of Sakae Suzuka, the inventor of rubber baseballs. It may safely be said that it was one of the greatest inventions made by the Japanese, and it changed baseball to a playing sport from a viewing sport. It did much to popularize baseball throughout the country. Rubber-ball baseball is now enjoyed by more people than volley ball, tennis, and soccer.

As a personal sequel to the story, I recently found how rubber-balls are safe and convenient. My son now plays hardball baseball at high school. I am often asked by him to play catch with him, but it is very difficult to find a suitable place to do it. Near-by parks or playgrounds are off-limits to hardball players. We had to go to a large riverside a 15-minute drive away along the Arakawa River.
Baseball Hall of Fame is the most sacred and solemn place in the Baseball Museum. In its corner, the plaque dedicated to Sakae Suzuka lines with three other baseball greats selected in the New Century category. It always reminds the visitors of a unique history of baseball in Japan.
  

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 Players Selection Committee and the Special Selection Committee. (Please refer to page 4.)
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 (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.
  3.  5 courtesy tickets for non-members (Individual membership)
       20 courtesy tickets for non-members (Corporation membership)
  4. Occasional News Release
  5. 10% reduction to the items on sale at the baseball museum
  6. The Baseball Hall of Fame 2007 (published in March, 2007)
    (New individual sustaining members only)
  7. Baseball Museum original pin
  8. (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 2,000yen

*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 03-3811-3600 c/o Takagi and/or Takeuchi.

B) News from the Baseball Museum

  1. The Baseball Library re-opens

The baseball library was closed for renovation work for two weeks towards the end of last year, but it re-opened on January 2, with brighter lighting and more space for reading.
Hours   March to September,    10:00-12.00, 13:00-18:00
           October to February,     10:00-12:00, 13:00-17:00
* The library is closed between 12:00 and 13:00.

    2.WBC Trophy on display again

          2006 WBC trophy has long been on tour, but it has come back to our baseball
          museum with the winning ball and champions medals.

     3.Obituary

          We pray for the soul of the late Kazuo Inao, 1993 Hall of Famer.
          He passed away on November 13, 2007, at the age of 70.
  
     4.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
                                                                     (* Per person in groups 20 or more)
                              300yen                  Senior citizens aged 65 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.
                 N.B. In other words, during the coming three months, the museum will be
                        closed on February 4, 18 and 25; March 3, 10 and 24; April 7, 14, 21
                        and 28.

p.8  Essay (31)  My fond memory of Koshien Stadium
                                   Yoshiaki Arimoto, Member of the Special Selection Committee

I used to live near Koshien station in my primary school days. Strawberry fields stretched from my home to the station. The peaceful country landscape was once introduced in an essay by Hisaya Morishige, a famous actor who was my senior at primary school. One Sunday, I was taken by my father to Koshien Stadium to see pitcher Sawamura who had been sent to the front.
“Is he the Sawamura you often talked about?”
“So it seems. But surely his pitching form is quite different.”
Even he could not believe his eyes. The pitcher on the mound was quite different from what we knew. He was thin and not brisk nor smart. There were no more fastballs and curves dropping off the table which had retired the All-Americans in 1934 and with which he completed the first no-hit, no-run game against the Tigers in 1937. His overhand pitching, with his leg raised high, was gone. He threw underhand in that game and was naturally pounded like hell. As Tigers fans, we felt pleased, but at the same time we were not happy at all.

After his brilliant year in 1937 when he notched 33 wins, he was destined to be drafted into the war three times in 7 years. As his teammate Shigeru Chiba laments, it was quite unusual with pro players at that time. He threw intermittently (winning 16 games) in pro baseball, but his arm was injured by throwing hand grenades. His last plate appearance was in 1943, but he could not win a single game. His troopship was sunken off Taiwan in 1944. Sadayoshi Fujimoto, who managed the Giants in those days recollects with mourn, “He was the mainstay of the Giants in their first golden days. He always asked me to take the mound when his girlfriend came to see the game. There was something charming in his remark. I deeply sympathized with him when he had to go to the mound even if he knew quite well that his arm was not good enough.”

The open space around Koshien Stadium was ideal for young boys for cycling and they enjoyed  riding a bicycle the way they liked. On a practice day at Koshien Stadium, baseball kids were out in  the outfield, helping the Tiger players pick up balls. They were very kind. Fumio Fujimura, who  was called Mr. Tigers later, would often give them used balls and bats. Ryohei Igaue, third baseman, Takeshi Doigaki, catcher, and Sadayuki Minagawa, shortstop, were no exceptions. Later in my high school days, I qualified to play in the national Inter-high baseball tournament as many as three times.
As a sports writer, I visited Koshien Stadium so often to cover the baseball games there.The Hanshin Tigers moved their spring camp to Kochi and later down south to Aki, both in Shikoku.
The famous duo pitchers Masaaki Koyama and Minoru Murayama, and Gene Bacque were trained there and shot up to stardam. In his second year of camping with the Tigers, the fabulous southpaw Yutaka Enatsu was doing pitching practice with catcher Tetsuya Yamamoto, who had caught for the famous duo in the game against the Giants which was attended by the Emperor and Empress in 1959. What I saw there was Enatsu’s stunt-like pitching with a pinpoint control. With his thumb and first finger a little more apart than usual, he intentionally pitched a dozen of balls just off the outside of the plate as he declared beforehand. Yamamoto predicted a bright future for the younger pitcher, and surely Enatsu became one of the greatest southpaws in Japan.

 

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