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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.18, No.2

p.1 Induction Ceremony for the 2008 Hall of Famers
                                                          Hiroshi Satou, President
     The Players Selection Committee elected two successful candidates to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January, 2008. The candidate who won the most votes was Koji Yamamoto. On joining the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 1969, he 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. Mr Hiroshima, or Mr. Red Helmet became home run king four times. Tsuneo Horiuchi won the second most votes. His 13 consecutive wins from scratch in his first year as a high school graduate won him not only the Rookie of the year but prestigious Sawamura award. His contribution to the Giants’ 9 consecutive wins in the Japan Series is epitomized by his best year in 1972 when he was the winningest in the Central League and won the MVP award.
The Special Selection Committee elected Seiichi Shima as the only successful candidate, but as his Induction Ceremony is scheduled to be held separately at the 90th National High School Baseball Championship on August 15, it will be covered in the next issue of Newsletter (18-3), which will be published in coming October.

   On Friday, August 1, Koji Yamamoto and Tsuneo Horiuchi were inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in the ceremony held at Yokohama Stadium preceding the second game of the 2008 All-Star Series. The Induction Ceremony was held as part of the opening ceremony and they were warmly greeted by all the managers, coaches and members of the Central and Pacific Leagues’ All-Stars who stood along the foul lines. The big screen introduced the playing days of the new Hall of Famers and the ceremony began when the new Hall of Famers and their guests stood near the pitcher’s mound.
   Yasuchika Negoro, Chairman of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, awarded them with a replica of their plaques which are to be displayed on the wall of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Then a bouquet presentation was made: from Kinugasa (1996 Hall of Famer) to Yamamoto, and from Kaneda (1988 Hall of Famer) to Horiuchi. On behalf of Horiuchi, Yamamoto said in his joint acceptance speech, “It is a great honor to be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in conjunction with the All-Star game in which I had long aspired to participate and play a prominent role. We owe much to our former clubs, their leaders, teammates, rivaling players, and pro baseball fans, among others.”
   The ceremony ended with a standing ovation from the spectators in a fine breezy weather.
(Photo from left: Sachio Kinugasa, koji Yamamoto, Tsuneo Horiuchi, and Masaichi Kaneda)

p.2 Summer Exhibitions and Events for 2008

  1. Exhibitions

  2. (A)Special Exhibition:  “Baseball and the Olympics~Hurrah, Hoshino Japan”  
    At Exhibition Hall     Until Sunday, September 28

    In order to celebrate the baseball events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics which will begin on Wednesday, August 13, this special exhibition has been held with ardent expectations, hopefully joined by our visitors, of splendid performances  of Hoshino Japan.
    On display are medals obtained and uniforms worn by managers and players who participated in the past Olympic baseball events. Also shown are a history of the baseball events in the Olympics, records of Teams Japan, and introduction of Team Japan who will compete in Beijing under Hoshino.
    The results of the Olympic baseball events will be reported daily at the entrance of the Baseball Museum.
    (Photo left)   Bronze medal obtained by Shinya Miyamoto in the Athens
                         Olympics  (To be on display until Sunday, August 31.)
                          Official balls autographed by members of Team Japan at                                  the Athens Olympics.
    (Photo right)  Uniform worn by Manager Senichi Hoshino at the qualifiers for                       the Beijing Olympics (left)
                          and the one worn by Miyamoto at the Athens Olympics (right).

    (B)Special Exhibition : “Hall of Famers for 2008”
    At the Baseball Hall of Fame     Until Sunday, September 28

                     The exhibition features the Hall of Famers for 2008; Koji Yamamoto,                      Tsuneo Horiuchi and Seiichi Shima. Artifacts and photos related to
                     the three Hall of Famers are on display with
                     their biographies and records.

  2.  Events

      (A)Baseball Study by Elementary and Junior High School Students

        Until Sunday, August 31    Mainly at the Baseball Library
                 Baseball terminology, stadiums, equipment, statistics, and history of
                 baseball will provide good topics for free study for juvenile
                 students during their summer vacation.
                 The two librarians and student assistant will be ready to show them
                 how to read book in the library and use artifacts on display
                 ~ bats and gloves ~ to help them with their free study.
                (Photo right from 2007)

     (B)Demonstration of bat making

              Tuesday, August 19 and Wednesday, August 20; 
              11:00~12:00, 13:30~14:30 and 15:00~16:00
              At the Baseball Hall of Fame           
              Through cooperation by Mizuno Corporation
              It will mark the 5th year of bat making demonstration at the baseball
              museum. The craftsman at work will be ready to answer any
              questions from the floor.
              It will surely be another good subject of free study.
              (Photo left from 2007)

     (C)Hands-on Experience of Producing a Glove by a child-parent team

              Thursday, August 21    13:00~15:00
               At the Baseball Hall of Fame    In cooperation with Mizuno Corporation
              Successful applicants (10 pairs of an elementary school students and
              his/her parent) will participate in the last process of glove making in
               the full view of other visitors.  

p.3 Inductees Remembered (20)    A Memory of my father
                       Shohei Shimada, second son of Zensuke Shimada,
                       1969 Hall of Famer

   My father was born in 1888 and went on to study at Keio Gijuku University, which was one of the pioneers of baseball in Japan. The birth of baseball team at Waseda in 1903 was the beginning of the traditional Waseda-Keio rivalry. He caught for Keio in the fall of 1906, but the brawl between the boisterous rooters led the competition to discontinue at the 3rd game. No games were to be played between the two for the following 19 years. He participated in the Keio Nine’s tour to Hawaii in 1908 and to the mainland of America in 1911. (He was such a strong-armed catcher that he was reportedly invited to join the pro baseball in America, though he declined because he was well aware that he was not physically strong enough.) After graduation, he played for Mita Club, which consisted of old boys of Keio Nine. In 1922 in a game against the coming All-Americans he hit a home run, which proved the first home run hit by a Japanese player in a U.S.-Japan competition. After retirement he contributed to the development of baseball as an official of Japan Student Baseball Association. His baseball life culminated in his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
   My father was 40 years older than I, so when I could remember, he was in retirement. Naturally I have not known him in person as an imposing player. Even in an age when Japan plunged forward to make a militaristic expansion in Asia, he tried to find time to enjoy sport. He was one of the founding members of Sagami Country Club, and would often play golf there on holidays, taking my elder brother and me with him on the pretext that golf was good for health regardless of ages. My brother and I either followed him in the golf course or waited for his return in the practice range, and now we have a nostalgic memory of a good golf course in the old good days. On the way back, he treated us at a miso-boiled pork restaurant near Shin Haramachida station. My father always ate out due to business and baseball and rarely dined with his family. So having a meal with him was an exceptional pleasure for us.
  In 1941, in the absence (due to conscription) of the director and manager of the Keio Nine, he acted as a temporal coach with his old mate. He invited some leading players~ Uno, Odate, Sakai, Oshima and Betto~ to a sukiyaki party at his home. My mother seems to have great difficulty in preparing enough meat to serve those big eaters. The food situation had actually aggravated in those days and the day was coming to an end when people could enjoy sports peacefully. Eventually our house was burnt down in an air-raid and the household was dismembered. It was only in 1954 when all the members of our family managed to live together overcoming the confusion after the war, but my father died in January, 1955 at the age of 67. During the war, he used to say, “Japan won’t win the war against America. I know its real strength quite well, for as a youth I played baseball in that big country.” Though his latter days after the war were full of troubles, I think he enjoyed a fruitful and splendid life through sports towards the end of 1920’s. 

p.4 Rara avis (63)  Two books connecting baseball and the Olympic Games
                                          Miwako Atarashi, Co-curator

Let me introduce two books which tell an interesting episode connecting baseball and the Olympics.

  1. Spalding’s Official Baseball Guide, 1901 (Reprint)

An inquiry from a staff at Prince Chichibu Memorial Sports Museum last year on baseball games at the 1900 Paris Exposition gave me some incidental information on the Exposition itself.
   During the Exposition, various sports and cultural events were held as its affiliated projects. At first only athletic sports (or track and field events) under the charge of Baron Pierre de Coubertin were recognized as the Olympic Games. At present 19 sports (and 95) events are recognized by the IOC as having been held in accordance to the creed and motto of the Olympic Games. These events were held for more than five months, starting on May 14 and ending on October 28, quite unlike the way they were held in the later Olympics.
   While researching the baseball games in question, I came across an interesting description in Spalding’s Official Baseball Guide, 1901 (reprint). In this English resume, I will first quote some excerpts verbatim.
       “At present Paris can boast of five base ball nines; ……., and last but not least,
       the American Guard nine, the champions of 1900 and the winners of the
       handsome gold medals offered by the official athletic committee of the
       Exposition.  (A brief history is mentioned.).Interest in the game was
       greatly augmented by the advent of the sixty young college students
       selected by the Government from the various States for guard duty
       at the Exposition and known as the United States Guards…….
       The Guards closed the season in a blaze of glory by winning the championship
       and gold medals on September 20, 1900, the deciding game being played
       on the diamond laid out on the grass lawn in the centre of the new
       Veledrome bicycle race track (where soccer and other Olympic
       games were held) at the Vincennes annex of the Exposition, the game being
       witnessed by fully five hundred Americans.

It is very interesting that as early as in 1900, baseball was played in the same time and place when and where the 1900 Paris Olympics were held/

      2.Official Report of the Berlin Olympics  (Published by the Greater Japan
            Athletic Association, 1937)

Many people may know that in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, two American teams played a baseball game as an exhibition game at the Olympic Stadium, but few people know, I suspect, that the exhibition game was originally scheduled to be played by a Japanese team and an American counterpart.
I myself read the following article in the photocopied “Baseball Forever!” (Carlos J. Garcia, 1979) immediately after it was translated into Japanese in 1980. I will quote it in excerption. 
       “The Organization Committee of the German Olympic Games invited the
       United States  to hold a baseball demonstration during said games, … ,
       and also invited Japan to bring a rival team. The United States accepte the
       invitation, but Japan at the last minute had to cancel, so the American team
       had to split into two squads …
I had long wanted to find some sources which will verify Garcia’s description and only recently I found in the book cited above a further proof of the hidden episode. The minutes of the Preparation Committee for the Berlin Olympics (held on September 26, 1935) says in part as follows.
       “A report was made by Mr. Yamamoto (Tadanori Yamamoto, president of Japan
       Student Athletic Federation) that he had not promised the German committee
       definite Japanese participation in a baseball game scheduled to be held as a
       demonstration from 7 p.m. on August 12.”                                     
I will continue to make a further research on why the invitation was declined, but it may safely be said that Japan could not afford to send a delegation of more than nine members to an unofficial exhibition event in that the expenses to send the Japanese delegation to Berlin had been contrived to raise through donations by forming supporters’ organizations.

p.5  Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (27)
         A dentist called an unrivaled authority on MLB (2-1)
                                   Satoshi Imazato, eldest son of Jun Imazato
“Imazato-San, a researcher of Major League Baseball” may not explain anything at a hearing, but “a dentist in Nishiwaki who is versed in MLB” will recall the very person to many people concerned with baseball in Japan. My father practiced dentistry in Nishiwaki and died five years ago, but almost all of his life, he was widely known among the baseball world as a dentist versed in MLB who had contributed to the interchange of pro baseball between Japan and the United States. In “My Biography” in the Nikkei Shimbun on last June 20, Yoshio Yoshida, former manager of the Hanshin Tigers and 1992 Hall of Famer, referred to him as “a genuine expert of MLB.,” and said that even Pancho Itoh, former Public Relations Director of the Pacific League (see Newsletter 18-1) had admitted his superiority over himself.

   The birth of a strange personality dates back to his days at a dentistry University. In 1946, being fond of English and baseball, he would listen to the report of MLB games on shortwave FEN whenever he found time to do. He was not a mere listener. He went so far as to fill out a scorebook. On American broadcasting, an announcer would say, for example, “A grounder to Eddie (Matthhews),” not “A grounder to third base.” as in Japan. At first he did not understand at which position the player was fielding. Extensive knowledge of the names of all the MLB players proved prerequisite for his keeping a scorebook through listening to MLB broadcasting. He dared to write to each and every team of MLB, from which he gradually got a favorable response. Eventually he got acquainted with Commissioner Ford Frick through letters!

   His interest in MLB never ceased when he became a dentist. He asked his mother to record the live radio broadcasting and when he was free after nine at night, he listened to the tape and kept a scorebook. He became known to radio announcers, and one of them reportedly said on the radio, “Hi, Dr. Jun Imazato. Are you listening? How about a coffee with me?” His scorebooks found their way to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown in upstate New York and had the honor of being put on display there.

   With such background, it was natural for him to be asked by the pro baseball people on both sides of the Pacific to act as a liaison, Japanese Commissioner included. For example, it was through his work beginning with prior consultation that the Hanshin Tigers realized their spring camp in Florida with the Detroit Tigers in 1963. It was the first camping abroad by a Japanese pro team and he went with them as an adviser and interpreter. When a MLB All-Star team visited Japan, he temporarily closed his clinic and as an adviser of the Japanese Commissioner, he went with them during their tour across the country. (See photo right)  He began to cooperate with the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum which opened to the public in 1959. From time to time he helped them collect materials from MLB. It was through his good offices that the museum had the donation of uniforms from the visiting Baltimore Orioles in 1984. 

(Photo: left, Imazato; middle, Leland S. MacPhail, president of the American League;
 right, Chuck Tanner, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates)

p6.   Library Note       The 90th National High School Baseball Championship
                                       Akiko Ogawa, co-librarian

The annual National High School Baseball Championship marks the 90th anniversary in 2008.
It has traditionally held a memorable championship every 5th year. In the following diagram a brief history of these memorable championships is provided along with the name of the winning school, and the date of the opening day. A much shorter version is given in the English resume. Readers are invited to enjoy the details by referring to the related magazines and newspapers available at the baseball library.

1915  1st  The first tournament with 10 qualifier schools was held in Toyonaka
                Stadium. 73 schools entered the regional eliminations.
1919  5th   The tournament was held in Naruo Stadium.
1924  10th  The tournament was held in Koshien Stadium which was completed
                   two weeks before.
1929  15th  The famous big stands were built which were popularly called
                  Alps stands.
1934  20th  A 34-meter-high monument with an open-air amphitheater was built in
                  font of the stadium. (Now extinct)
1939  25th  Shima (Kaiso Middle School) shut out all the five games,
                  with a successive no-hit, no-run in the semi-final and the final.
1948  30th  (WWII canceled 4 annual tournaments)  A new tournament song,
                  “You have won the laurels” was adopted in celebration of the reform of                    educational system.
1953  35th  Televised for the first time.
1958  40th  All of the 47 prefectures, including Okinawa, were represented in the
                 Tournament. Nishinomiya Stadium was also used until the third heats.
                 A new tournament flag was adopted.
1963  45th  Nishinomiya Stadium was also used. 48 teams (Hokkaido
                 was represented by 2 teams) participated.
1968  50th   The then Crown Prince and Princess attended the opening ceremony.
                   Memorial stamps were published.
1973  55th    The whole attendance reached 670,000.
1978  60th    The annual tournament was to be represented by all of the 47
                   prefectures (Hokkaido and Tokyo with 2 teams). The membership of
                   each team increased from 14 to 15. (18, as of 2008)
1983  65th    Ikeda failed to make a three successive victory through summer and
                   spring tournaments.
1988  70th    The present Crown Prince made a first-pitch ceremony from
                    the mound.
1993  75th    The tournament was afflicted by bad weather in the 3rd and 10th days.
1998  80th    55 teams (Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Aichi, Osaka, and Hyogo were
                   represented by 2 teams together with Hokkaido and Tokyo) competed
                   in the tournament. The captain of the former Kyoto Nichu,
                   the winner in the first tournament in 1915, threw in the first-pitch ceremony.
2003   85th    The first game in the first day saw the 1,000th home run
                     in Koshien Stadium.
2008   90th    55 teams (in the same format as in 1998) participated
                     in the tournament.

p.7     News from the Baseball Museum     

A   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 \2,000

*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 board of directors and councilors of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum met at Tokyo Dome Hotel at 11 o’clock on Monday, June 2 and approved the following items on the agenda:
    Reports on activities, statement of accounts for 2007 and auditor’s certificate for 2007.

     2. Changes in staff

New director    Toru Shimada, president of the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles
New councilor   Takayasu Okushima, vice president of Japan Student Baseball
                                                       Association Ibid.
                       Kazuhiro Tawa, director of Japan Student Baseball Association

                       Retiring director   Hiroshi Mikitani
                       Retiring councilor  Shozaburo Kobayashi

        3. A Movie recommended

“The Last Game ~ the last Waseda vs Keio Game”
To be road-showed on Saturday, August 23 nationwide.
In the fall of 1943, at the climax of WWII, even university students were destined to go to the front and traditional Tokyo Big6 Baseball League was forced to be discontinued.
The movie depicts a moving story that the members of Waseda and Keio Nines overcame the difficulties with the support of people concerned and met their mutual rivals in Jingu Stadium before departing to the front.

It has received ardent recommendations from Japan Amateur Baseball Association, Japan Rubber Baseball Association, Nippon Professional Baseball, and All Japan Baseball Foundation. The Baseball Museum let the photograph of Suishu Tobita used for the official website and the program. He is a 1960 Hall of Famer and a doyen of Waseda University.  
(Please come and visit:

     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, from September to October, the museum will be
                        closed on:  September 22 and 29,  and October 6, 20 and 27.
    5. Editor’s Note  The next number (18-3) of our Newsletter will report
                              the Induction  Ceremony for Seiichi Shima, which is scheduled
                              to be held at Koshien  Stadium on Friday, August 15.

p.8  Essay (33) Leaving Commissioner ~ a man of integrity
                           Chiaki Niizuma, director of the Players Selection Committee

   “From now I’ll be a Hanshin Tigers fan again and enjoy myself dreaming their victory.”
   With this leaving message that liked him, Yasuchika Negoro, acting commissioner of baseball, resigned from his office at the end of last June. He left the office airily with a nonchalant smile, without any complaint about his troubled four years of his term. No other commissioners have encountered greater difficulties.
 (NB: He was concurrently chairman of the board of directors of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but his chairmanship will continue until October 2, 2008)
   On January 31, 2004, on the eve of his inauguration, the Kintetsu Buffaloes made public of their intention of selling the name of the team, an unheard-of affair in pro baseball in Japan. The proposal was finally withdrawn due to an unanimous objection by all of the other ball clubs, but it was only a precursor of successive troubles. He was to be tossed about in the troublous waters of reorganization of pro baseball world, embroiling people at large. Merger of Kintetsu Buffaloes with Orix BlueWave, projected entry of two new clubs (finally the Rakuten Eagles gained entry to the Pacific League), resignation of influential owners taking responsibility of offering illegal monetary assistance to university students, the first strike by Japan Professional Baseball Players Association, under-the-table payment to drafted players, and so on.
   The four odd years of his term, first three years as Commissioner, and the rest as acting one, was probably the most tumultuous period in the whole history of pro baseball in Japan. There were many factors and all of them had existed as open secrets for years and they inevitably erupted all at once. Operation at a deficit by many clubs, NPB‘s opposition to JPBPA, closed barrier between pro and amateur baseball worlds, and out-of-date Baseball Agreement, to cite a few.
   He often said, “I have lived in the world of reason. I am not in my element where sentiment is involved.” To him pro baseball is dominated by sentiment, rather than by reason. True to his former profession as Public Prosecutor General, he tried, in settling the difficult situation, to observe the Baseball Agreement rigidly and take an impartial position. That is why he was criticized, especially by mass media, as lacking in leadership and doing nothing constructive. But he tenaciously held to his own principle. “Commissioner’s sole function is to impose sanctions against any violation of the Baseball Agreement. Club operation is an exclusive prerogative represented by Owners’ Meetings. I thought I had to quit because I butted into their business.”
   When his final proposal to settle the strike by JPBPA was turned down, he expressed his resignation probably because he wanted to maintain his pride as Commissioner or as a former jurist. I myself have some shameful memories that I was more sentimental than reasonable when I covered a series of incidents of reorganization of pro baseball world. The whole mass media gave a frenzied welcome when Horie and his livedoor company advertised their entry at the time of emergency, but once he was arrested for trespassing the law, no one seems to have taken notice of him nor given a serious reconsideration to the incident.
Once he became an acting Commissioner, he took an initiative in reforming the pro baseball world by trying to change draft and free agency systems, and even Baseball Agreement. He intervened in a doping incident and so-called double contract of pitcher Powell. He admitted, “I am the more active in settling the matter once I am in a precarious position as acting commissioner.”
 He left the pro baseball world, sticking to his principle to the last moment. The other day I invited him to a drink as a token of my thanks for his cooperation, but he humorously retorted, “Are you prepared for my criticism of mass media?”


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