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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.18, No.1

p.1  What the Baseball Museum aims at
                                                          Hiroshi Satou, President
A baseball museum has seemingly incompatible two images: one is an archive which is wholly intent on displaying old collections, hoary with age. The other is an impression that baseball is the epitome of feeling of energy arising from batting, running and fielding, and high tension in which spectators anticipate an unpredictable action in the stadium. How can we combine these contradictory images successfully? Our eternal aim is to enable the visitors to enjoy making a tour of our museum by immersing themselves in the past and relive the thrill and scenes of the play with excitement.  

Take photographs for example. Different people have different histories and memories. It is common for people, particularly those who used to be familiar with sepia photographs, to associate their dear memories with memorable events in pro baseball. “My first child was born in the same year as when my favorite team won the pennant. The Japan Series were won by its archrival. Whose name? I can’t bear to name it. I named my child after a player who showed the most splendid performance that year.” Such a personal recollection is immeasurably dear to the person himself, though it might have nothing to do with others.
Photographs have been one of the collections which were difficult to put on display. They cannot be seen by many people at a time. Though they take so much space to be shown, they do not give so much impression as compatible with their space. Moreover, it takes a lot of care to preserve them.

Fortunately, however, these problems have been solved by their digitization to still images. They can be freely enlarged and reduced. Visitors can now select their photographs by touching the panel with a finger. We have been much helped by the amazing technological innovation of visual images, from 16 mm films, videotapes, and to DVD. As the proverb says, “seeing is believing,” a moment of an image will sometimes prove much more effective than a verbose explanation. Group photographs of the All-Stars and annual posters since 1951 are now available at the Collection Inspection Corner. More of collected photographs, and all of them in the near future, will be digitized to still images. By this, it is to be hoped that visitors can see all their favorite images in a good environment. At the same time, an effort has been done to enlarge screens in the museum.

The baseball library (see the photo) also plays an important function in our baseball museum. It is an accumulation of records and memories. New records and new thrilling scenes will inevitably refer all the baseball funs and students to former records and scenes, hence more and more people, irrespective of their ages, sexes and nationalities, have flocked to our baseball museum. It was renovated last winter, and visitors can now read the books, magazines and newspapers (they total about 50,000 items) in a more comfortable and lighter atmosphere. Photo copying service is also available.

With performing a function of collection display, image showing, and study, we rather flatter ourselves that our baseball museum thus is offering baseball-loving visitors a multi-function space filled with expectation and nostalgia. All of you are always welcome to visit us.

p.2   A    Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2008

In an ever-lasting effort to cater to visitor’s interest and enjoyment, we are scheduled to do the following events in the fiscal year 2008.

  1. The event hall will be renovated. The corner where visitors can experience a virtual batting against leading pro pitchers and actually take bats or wear gloves used by pro players has been popular particularly among elementary and junior high school students. It will become a better-furnished hands-on facility.
  2. The Induction ceremony for the three Hall of Famers for 2008 will be held in August. Koji Yamamoto and Tsuneo Horiuchi will be inducted at Yokohama Stadium on Friday, August 1 on the 2nd game of the All-Star game series. Seiichi Shima will be inducted also at Koshien Stadium  some day during the National High School Baseball Championship. (The exact date is undecided yet.)
    A special exhibition in their honor will be held at the Baseball Museum following their induction ceremonies for several weeks. The exact date will be announced later in July.
    The photo on the right shows the 2007 Induction Ceremony at Tokyo Dome.
  3. A Summer Special Exhibition on “Baseball and the Olympics” will be held spanning three months from July to September. A history of baseball events in the Olympics will be introduced in strong moral support of the Team Japan participating in the Beijing Olympics in August.
  4. The following regular exhibitions will be held following the current exhibition on “Baseball around the World,” which will end on Sunday, June 22.
     “ Bats used by great pro player.”     September to November.
     “Baseball and Children’s play”          November to February, 2009      "WBC”                                               February, 2009 to May, 2009
  5. Summer events for elementary and junior high school students
        Demonstration of bat-making       (photo left shows 2007 demonstration)
        Glove-making by parent-child pairs
        Independent research of baseball    (photo left shows the library in 2007)
  6. For future curators, service practice will be conducted in two parts: one during   the summer vacation to help the summer events and the one for other seasons   to help the curators and librarians. The practice has proved fruitful for the   visitors, trainees and the Baseball Museum.

    B   Sustaining members for 2008 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.
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
    (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.

p.3  Inductees Remembered (19)    Father’s instruction, Old Man’s teaching
                           Takashi Fujita, second son of Nobuo Fujita, 1987 Hall of Famer

On Sunday, April 26, 1992, the obituary on every sports newspaper reported the death of two great personages: Yutaka Ozaki, legendary singer, and with all deference, Nobuo Fujita, my father. When I was asked to write this article, I felt there is some coincidence in the fact that this newsletter would be published on the 17th anniversary of my father’s death. I decided to write for the repose of a man who was and is the Old Man of Hosei University Baseball Club as well as my father.

I was born in 1946 when father was 43 and mother 39. I had two elder sisters. My elder brother died young in the previous year. Mother was a niece of Ryoichi Sasaki, the 5th president of HUBC. She was born and raised in Azabu and got married to a man living near his baseball stadium in Arai- yakushi. The president was a professor of laws at Hosei University. My father, who managed the team, reportedly complained that he found it difficult to make a sign to a runner to “steal” the next base. On coming up to Tokyo from Itami in 1922, he entered Hosei University and played for its team as an outfielder and captain, and later as a graduate student he managed the team. It had joined the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League in its inaugural year of 1925, but ended in the last place.

In 1930 at last, he led the team to capture the first victory in TBBL with his up-to-date know-how, players’ hard training and support of the neighboring people combined. With the help of his two younger brothers who also played for the same team (the famous Hosei Three Brothers; this trio reminds me another famous Hosei Trio in later years, Tomita, Tabuchi, and Yamamoto who were born in the same year as I was), he established the first dynasty of Hosei University, which eventually has proved the winningest team in TBBL. Incidentally the third brother Shozo became the first manager of the Kintetsu Pearls when they joined the Pacific League in 1950. My father devoted his life to amateur baseball and he was very glad when he was decorated for his distinguished services.

I myself have a fond memory of Kami-takada where there used to be the training camp of HUBC. This is the very place where I live now under the direction of my dear father. I still observe his instruction which was derived from his bitter experience of hardship and spirit of challenge. He learned baseball know-how from the forerunners, Waseda and Keio. Tobita, mentor of the Waseda Nine, said that student baseball is not so much a play as a part of education. Koshimoto, manager of Keio, was farsighted enough to make a big point of treating sports injury by a specialist. My father was always ready to take in whatever good for his players, reflecting the spirit expressed in his school song. My grandmother was a “mother courage” who ran a restaurant in Tianjin in China under the Qing dynasty. She reportedly donated a tank to the Japanese army. She was intent on giving his three sons and two daughters a good education in Japan. In particular, she gave her financial support to the Hosei Nine when they went to America to train themselves in baseball. She was so generous as to let them embark for America by boarding them in the first cabin in an ocean liner. He seems to understand, “In any line of life, to be first rate requires the first rate experience.”

“To grasp the fundamentals is the key to improvement in baseball,” and I am glad that his idea runs still in the way the Hosei Nine play baseball.

Baseball has seen a rapid globalization in these days. In succession to Murakami, the first Japanese MLB player, more than a dozen Japanese are now playing a big role in the MLB. International baseball has come to be competed in the Japan-U.S baseball championship, the Olympics and WBC.

Despite the changes of times, my father’s five principles have not lost their significance even now. 1)He recruited players from outside of the bastions of Waseda and Keio, namely from Tohoku and Hokkaido, even from Hawaii (e.g., Wakabayashi, 1964 Hall of Famer) 2) He encouraged his players to work for NHK to obtain high publicity by broadcasting. 3) He supported Marunouchi Baseball Tournament (which boasts 60 years of history) by sending his players to assist its activity, and thus contributed to the local society. 4) He was born in Tianjin and spoke Chinese and English as well as Japanese. To him English came first preceding to Japanese. He was familiar with books in English about baseball. 5) He translated Baseball Note: for Coaches and Players (by C.L. Lundgren, Illinois University ) into Japanese as early as in 1932 and published it from the Iwanami. His Hosei way of baseball, which emphasizes the fundamentals of baseball beginning with how to field grounders, has proved quite compatible with playing in the enlarged Meiji Jingu Stadium.

Let me end my longish essay by introducing myself. Probably by inheriting my father’s genes, I ran Yamaha Sports Project for years. After 60, I have been working for Special Olympics Japan as manager in direct contact with sports. I wish to extend my sincere thanks here to all the people who had kindly supported him in his life.

p.4  Rara avis (62)  A bat and ball used in Pesapallo, Finnish baseball.
                                     Miwako Atarashi, Co-curator

One of the first items donated to the Baseball Museum at its commencement in 1959 is a bat and ball (See the photo) used in Finland. Eiichi Tao, a famous sports collector in Kansai district, got it from Ichiro Hatta, later the 3rd president of Japan Wrestling Association, who had obtained it in Finland sometime in 1935. I contacted Tao in 1983 by chance, and knew its roots for the first time in years.

But what is pesapallo? In preparing to hold an exhibition, “Baseball and the Olympics” slated to be held from early July until September, I scoured several related books. The 1952 Official Report of the Olympic Games said that pesapallo was one of the open games at the Helsinki Olympics when it was played as the national game of the host country and that Mr. Lauri Pihkala (1888-1981), the deviser of the game, was invited to throw in the first pitch ceremony. This gave me an opportunity to brush up my knowledge about pesapallo. “The game was first developed by Lauri “Tahko” Pihkara in the 1920’s, and in the summer of 2002 pesapallo celebrated its 80 anniversary.”

How to play pesapallo?  In a pentagonal ground, like an extended home plate, a pitcher standing beside a batter tosses up a ball at the batter. The hitter runner moves diagonally to the left to first base, and if possible to second base diagonally to the right, and then diagonally to the left to third base….. For further information, the readers are advised to refer to International site at:

The Helsinki Olympics were the first Olympic Games Japan took part in after World War II and still remembered vividly owing to splendid performances by Japanese wrestlers. As Hatta participated as an official, it may safely be presumed that he had time to watch the Finnish baseball in play.   
For the OROG of each Olympic Games, please refer to the digital archives of LA84 Foundation.
p.5  Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (26)
         A fond memory of  “Pancho”  Itoh
                                  Koki Takekata, Supporter of the Baseball Museum

My recollection of baseball can never be told fully without mentioning “Pancho Itoh, “my dear uncle. He will surely appear in my dream and pester me if I don’t. It was no other than he that led me into baseball. In my elementary school days, he took me with him to Seibu Lions stadium for the first time. The Seibu Lions had just moved their franchise from Fukuoka in Kyushu, and quite contrary to their splendid performances later in the 1980s, they were cellar-dwellers more often than not. But all the people there ~ manager Nemoto, players, umpires, and staff of the PL headquarters ~ were kind to me and gave me a pleasant surprise.

In those days Doka-ben and Abu-san topped the baseball manga. One day, he called on me with some volumes of Abu-san and got absorbed in reading them. It was quite unlike him, because the non-drinker always cautioned me to avoid reading them. Abu-san is a now extinct Nankai Hawk. My uncle was enjoying comparing the characters in manga with actual players. I remember watching their play at now extinct Osaka Stadium. Sometimes I was given a bat from manager Anabuki, outfielder Kadota and catcher Kagawa who was nicknamed Doka-ben. The other day, filled with nostalgia, I visited its former site with my friends in Osaka. A few minutes’ walk from Nanba Station took us to some relics, the home plate, a relief of a green hawk, the logo of the extinct team. All at once, a part of the steep, conical stand, playing ground with and without turf on met our eyes, smelling of green turf. A shopping center occupying the former site told what a large building there used to be there.

At Kawasaki stadium I watched a dynamic pitching of Choji Murata, munching unforgettably tasty meat noodles. Boomer Wells, the cleanup of the Hankyu Braves, was often seen eating meat noodles before the game. Even from afar, he looked a giant. Pitcher Yamada showed an artistic underhand pitching. The sight of three leading pitchers, Yamada, Murata and Higashio, warming up before the All-Star game at Seibu Stadium has left an indelible impression on me. 

In 1987, I went abroad for the first time in life. Expecting a usual sightseeing tour, I accepted my uncle’s invitation to a trip to America, but it turned out a baseball watching tour traveling around Atlanta, Cincinnati and San Francisco. At each stadium, he was warmly welcomed by the staff. Though I could not speak English, I benefited much from his wide acquaintance. He was always accosted by somebody. He boasted, “I can strike up a friendship with anybody. This is the way in America.” In Atlanta, he chatted with the club’s secretary with a southern drawl. In Detroit, he talked through Gone with the Wind with a famous announcer Ernie Howell. At every hotel, he enjoyed talking with its waiters.

Recently I have enjoyed revisiting his old friends across the U.S.A.~ Minnesota, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, Seattle, Arizona, and Los Angeles. They all missed their departed friend. What I learned from him is the magnificence of baseball and friendship through baseball. A bond of friendship is great indeed, and beyond change as time goes by. He was nominated as a candidate for the Hall of Fame and I greatly appreciate the kindness of his old friends and those people concerned. I sincerely think it will make a happy conclusion to my recollection of baseball. Thank you very much.

p.6 Library Note       `Players Directory, Then and Now
                                      Akiko Ogawa, co-librarian

A new baseball season has set in. Several kinds of players directory will meet your eyes at bookstores. They are invaluable sources of information about each player; names, date of birth, height, weight, assumed salary, blood type, record of the previous year, and you name it.
It is to be hoped that you can have a glimpse of their history by the following summary of main player directories available at our baseball library.

  1. The Lineup of All-Japan Professional Baseball Clubs   Published in April 1936
            Player’s alma mater, age, height and weight in old Japanese measurement.
           Analysis of the team’s assets is replete with useful information, and        sometimes revealing, as in the case of pitcher Kageura (Hanshin Tigers).
  2. A Quick Guide to Professional Baseball             Published in July, 1940
           14 pages.  Club’s rooting song. Records spanning years from 1936.        Introduction of Korakuen, Koshien, and Nishinomiya stadia. News of pro        players sent to the front.
          Surprisingly, the rooting song of the Kinko was written by Genzaburo Okada,       who managed the team from 1936 to 1939.
  3. Japanese Baseball in Spring                      Published in April, 1942
           96 pages. History of the Japanese Professional Baseball League. Registered        senshi (fighters:the use of the term player was avoided). Analysis of each
           lineup. Prospect of Spring Season. Bios of MVP.
  4. Fan Notes             Published 1948 through 2002
          Pioneer of current player directories. Measurements were written in old       Japanese system until 1958. Contents were enriched later by addition of        baseball terminology and lifelong records. Size changed from 13 cm x 6 cm to        20 cm x 11 cm in 1997. Ordinary casualty insurance was supplemented to        ones sold at particular stadia to comply with increasing injury by foul balls.
  5. Weekly Baseball   
           Has carried a photographed directory every March issue. Entry per team was        select 30 players at first, but now totals 80 members including manager,               coaches and players. FUN DATA offers rankings of several kinds, e.g., alma        mater. Readable even for non-baseball fans.
  6. Color Encyclopedia of All the Players of 12 Clubs
          Supplement to Home Run. Assumed salary from 1977 (in those days, it was        published as supplement to the Boxing Magazine, Gong). From 1985, retirees       in the previous year. Records of appearances in spring and summer high       school championships from 1994. Convenient to study biography and in        watching games.

It must be added that in 1960s, Baseball Magazine and Weekly Yomiuri published their player directory as supplement to them.

p.7     News from the Baseball Museum     

  1. Changes in staff
       A)   President Fumio Kobayashi retired from office as of February 29 and was                succeeded by Hiroshi Satou (See the photo) on March 1.
    Sketch of his life
    Born in Okayama Prefecture on August 8, 1952.
    Graduated from School of Commerce, Waseda University
    Joined Korakuen Stadium (now Tokyo Dome) in 1977
    Transferred to Sapporo Korakuen Hotel in 2000
    Management and Project Director in 2003
    Transferred to Korakuen Finance in 2004
    Transferred to Korakuen Locomotive in 2006
    Transferred to Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2008      

       B)   Co-librarian Reiko Yamane retired as of March 31, and was succeeded by        Taku Chinone on March 1. He was selected through public recruitment which        had some 60 applicants last December.
    Sketch of his life
    Born in Ibaraki Prefecture on November 4, 1982
    Graduated from School of Political Science and Economics, Tokai University
    Worked part-time at Tomobe Library in Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture. 
    (Licensed as librarian at Seitoku University)

   2. Exhibition: Baseball around the World

Until Sunday, June 22, 2008 at Exhibition Hall, Baseball Museum

Baseball is now played around the world, and the International Baseball Federation
(IBAF) has over 110 member countries and districts. Japan and 6 countries that passed
each continental Olympic qualifier and the final Olympic qualifying tournament, and
China as the host nation will enter Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
The current exhibition feature the history of the IBAF and its member countries and
introduce various kinds of international competitions and professional leagues.
(photo left)  Poster of the 2nd Intercontinental Cup Canada, 1975.
                  It is autographed by Japan Team, the runner-up of the competition.
                  The first completion was held in 1taly in 1973. The next 17th is slated
                   to be held in 2010.
(photo right) Pins of 8 qualifying countries for Athens in 2004. Cuba won the gold medal,
                   Australia, the silver medal, and all-pro Japan, the bronze medal.

  3. On Sale
               A)  Key holder    Price     500 yen (including tax)
                         Material   Cowhide
                         Size      105 mm x 40 mm
                         Logo of the baseball museum put in gold leaf

                B)  Regulation ball    Authorized by NPB as official game ball
                         Price     1,600 yen (including tax)
                  Mail order service is also available by remittance through registered mail.
                    For 1 ball     1,600 yen         +  250 yen (shipping charge)
                         2~3 balls  1,600 yen per ball  +  400 yen (shipping charge)
                         4~6 balls  1,600 yen per ball  +  600 yen (shipping charge)
                    For 7 or more balls, please contact us by phone (03-3811-3600)

  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 May 12 and 19; June 2, 16, 23 and 30; July 7 and 14.

 5. Editor’s Note  The next number of Newsletter 18-2 will be published a little later than      usual to include the news about the Induction Ceremony to be held at the beginning of      August.

p.8  Essay (32)  Imagination
                             Saburo Kudoh, Member of the Players Selection Committee
                     NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

My first encounter with baseball was sankaku base, or “triangular base,” played without a second base. Before entering elementary school, we used to enjoy it with only two or three members on a limited space near the shed. I still faintly remember how proud I was when my elder brother let me in the group. It must have been known to everyone who has played this irregular baseball that when a batter of the offensive side has no one to follow him, he is allowed to hit twice, advancing a “transparent” runner to first or third base, as the case may be. The game would go on, presuming the presence of a runner or runners on base.  

Strangely enough, when a transparent runner was talked about among adults, they knew it irrespective of their home town, either in Kansai or in Tokyo. There was no rule book; nor was it broadcast nationwide; it was quite sure the game was not reported by the newspapers. Then, how come the invisible runner is omnipresent? The answer to this question is that the desire of children to enjoy baseball begot the invention of the magical runner. In those days when uniforms were not within the reach of common children, imagination did prevail in baseball. The latter part of 1950s when I was absorbed in triangular baseball coincided with the first flourishing days of pro baseball after the war, as is depicted in a movie, “Always-Sunset on Third Street,” which proved a great box-office success. But in a local place in Kyushu where I grew up, we had little opportunity to watch pro baseball at a stadium, and unlike the story in the movie, we had to wait another few years to install a TV set at home.

My father and I listened to the 1958 Japan Series on the vacuum tube radio. Pitcher Inao, who was fetishized as the guardian god of the Nishitetsu Lions together with the God and the Buddha, was our hero. I had seen his face on the cover of boys’ magazines, but absorbed by my father’s excitement, I was induced to visualize Inao pitching in a fantastic game. I was also so excited that I imagined myself as Inao with uniform number 24 retiring the Giants one after another. I would throw a ball against the wall, which rebounded back to me. Even after the radio was turned off, I sank deeply into imagination.

Many Japanese English expressions are popularly used in local baseball. Nighter, sayonara home run, running home run, head sliding and mouda-sho, or fierce batting prize. All of these imaginative expressions were born with all kinds of associations relevant to Japanese way of life. All of their correct expression in English can be left unsaid here, except multiple hit (prize), which is only a figure, but in its Japanese counterpart, concocted by the poet Kiyooka, we can feel that pure adoration of baseball boys is expressed explicitly. With games of MLB, WBC and the Olympics broadcast almost daily in Japan, we are obliged to get used to baseball terminology common to baseball around the world, like the balls-and-strikes count. But historically Japan introduced baseball by translating “baseball” into “yakyu.” We must not forget the fact that Japanese sensibility gave birth to many expressions homogeneous to Japanese characters. Perish the thought, rich imagination will disappear from baseball in Japan.


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