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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.18, No.3

p.1  Induction Ceremony for the 2008 Hall of Famers Part II  ~ In Koshien Stadium ~

                                                                                 Hiroshi Satou, President

The Special Selection Committee elected Seiichi Shima as the only successful candidate, and his Induction Ceremony was held at Koshien Stadium on August 15, 2008. (For the other two Hall of Famers, please refer to Newsletter 18-2)
As the ace of Kaiso Middle School, the southpaw appeared in the national tournament for five consecutive times, which culminated in a spectacular victory in the summer tournament of 1939. With his fast and sharp breaking balls, he shut out all of the five opposing teams, allowing only 8 hits, fanning 57 batters. In particular, he pitched no-hit, no-run performances in the semi-final and final games in succession. Incidentally this splendid performance was brought into the spotlight again when Daisuke Matsuzaka (Yokohama High School; now with the Boston Red Sox) pitched a no-hit, no-run game in the final of the summer tournament of 1998. 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 and was killed at the age of 24 off the coast of Indochina in March, 1945.

That is why his induction ceremony was held at Koshien Stadium on August 15, the anniversary of the end of the World War II. The ceremony was held preceding the first game of the quarterfinals of the commemorative 90th National High School Baseball Championship. The stands were almost full of spectators because the first game was to be played between two local teams, Osaka Toin and Hotoku Gakauen. Contrary to a bad weather report, the ceremony enjoyed a good weather, with gigantic columns of clouds in view in the distance.
Yasuchika Negoro, Chairman of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, presented the replica of Shima’s plaque to Yoshihito Kamori, captain of Koyo High School (former Kaiso Middle School) Baseball Club, and a bouquet to Toshio Kosumi, a teammate of Shima at Kaiso and Meiji, and a fellow draftee). Interestingly Kosumi had a photo concealed in his pocket, which showed Shima swimming in the nearby Hanshin Pool on the very day following his final win.

The ceremony ended in taking commemorative photos, being joined by Haruo Wakimura, president of the Japan High School Baseball Federation, and also by Ikuyo Inoue, advisor of the KHSBC. Also it proved the last public appearance of Chariman Negoro.
In concluding, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the staff of the Japan High School Baseball Federation and the people concerned for their kind cooperation with us in holding the Induction Ceremony in Koshien Stadium in the midst of the summer national tournament.

(Photo from left: Haruo Wakimura, Ikuyo Inoue, Yoshihito Kamori, Shima’s plaque, Toshio Kosumi, Yasuchika Negoro)

p.2    Report on Summer Events.

  1. Baseball Study by Elementary and Junior High School Students

                Saturday, July 19 through Sunday, August 31    Mainly at the Baseball Library

    The breakdown of the diagram below shows in which field of study 287 young students (23 more than last year) made their free study. Their topics spanned history, terminology,
    stadiums, equipment, mascots, the Olympics and others. Baseball artifacts ~ bats,
    gloves, balls~ and related books were ready at their hands    

    2. From 2002, we have had a kind cooperation of Mizuno Corporation in holding
         the following events.

   1) Demonstration of bat making was held three times each on Tuesday,
        August 19 and 20.
       When demonstration was over, Craftsman Watanabe answered many questions
        from the floor and let four primary students try their hands at filing a bat.

   2) On Thursday, August 21, 10 lucky pairs (out of 135 applications) of child-parent
       team took part in hands-on experience of producing a glove. Six craftsmen of Mizuno
        Corporation helped them finish the work in two hours. All of them were happy
        to take their product home.

p.3  Inductees Remembered (21)    A Memory of My Father
                       Tae Koizumi, second daughter of Shinzo Koizumi, 1976 Hall of Famer

The recent movie, “Last Game: the last encounter of Waseda and Keio Rivalry” is a sad story depicting the hard times, but after watching it, I felt somewhat ennobled wiping my wet eyes.
In those days baseball was strictly repressed and even the popular games of the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League were prohibited. At Keio University, there was a move to let their players play a farewell baseball game with the counterparts of Waseda University before they were mobilized to the front. My father, who was president of Keio University conferred with Waseda University, but they did not agree with him. After making rounds of negotiations with the Ministry of Education and military authorities, he finally managed to realize the precarious event. I believe his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 was the tribute paid to his painstaking work.

There are 22 Hall of Famers from Keio University, almost all of whom my father knew in person. But my father respected Ryozo Hiranuma (1979 Hall of Famer), among others, as the great person to whom the sports world of Japan was deeply indebted and took it as his honor to be able to make the acquaintance of Hiranura who was 9 years senior to him. In the movie, the part of my father was played by Koji Ishizaka. It is quite a fortunate chance that his maternal grandfather is Hiranuma. Ishizaka himself is a graduate of Keio University and related to Hiranuma by blood, so it seems to be quite natural that his acting is true to life as an impersonator of a typical Keio people.
My father was absorbed in playing tennis when he was a middle school student, and even then he represented Keio University in an intercollege tennis match. If he had not been burnt in the last war, he would have continued to play tennis until late in his life. Though he could not grab a racket, he enjoyed playing catch when he recovered his strength. In front of the gate of our house which was near the Italian Embassy in Mita, he used to play catch with a youth who happened to live with us. When he was pestered by children in the neighborhood, he was glad to throw a curve, or imitate the pitching form of pitcher Kawasaki of the Yomiuri Giants. Late in his life, he used take out a glove and a tennis ball and throw it against the wall along the road as a mental diversion.

I wonder who pitches in the first pitch ceremony on the opening day of the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League every spring and fall? For about 9 nine years from 1933 when my father became president of Keio University until baseball was prohibited, it was customarily assumed by either the Minster of Education or one of the presidents of the six universities belonging to TBBL. Naturally he expected to do it sometime, but strangely speaking his turn never came around. It was such a big event in those days that it was released in the news movie (it was the day when there was no TV), but it was not good enough to give a good impression on my dissatisfied father. The time came at last in 1964 when he was asked to appear in the first pitch ceremony for the All Japan University Baseball Championship. How earnestly he practiced! In the very ceremony he was so intent on throwing the ball with no bound to the catcher that it flew high over the catcher. “How wonderful he is to pitch a wild throw at the age of 76!” It was no laudable remark for his family, for they knew he was actually a good pitcher with a good command in throwing balls. He himself must have been sorry, but he simply said, “This is all I can do now.”

In the following spring, he was asked to pitch in the first pitch ceremony of the TBBL, the opening game being between Tokyo University and Keio University, champion team of the last fall season. I was so much worried that I could not let him go unattended by me. When he began to walk slowly to the mound with a stick in hand, jeers came from the stands. “How slow he is!” “Come forward, catcher!” I could not keep my eyes open. After a while, the umpire cried in a high voice, “Strike!” in the stillness. Big cheers followed. I will never be able to forget how impressed I was at that moment. The commemorative photo still hangs in my room. The umpire standing just behind him was so close to him that he almost clung to him. The umpire was reportedly told by an official to hold him when he looked like stumbling.
It was only after he made it possible for his dream to come true that he died in May of the following year.

(Photo) The ball was used at the first pitch ceremony in the opening game in the spring
             TBBL in 1965.
              It was autographed by all of the captains of the six teams. Two of the
              autographs are to be seen here.
                   Left: Shozo Eto, Keio University
                   Right: Yasuo Otsuka, Waseda University

p.4  Rara avis (64)    Ichiro, Keeler, Harimoto and their Bats
                                          Takahiro Sekiguchi, Co-curator

In the current exhibition, “Bats used by Star Players,” 56 bats used by Japanese and American star players, past and present, are on display with their measurements and episodes.
Here I would like to introduce two model bats for 1) Ichiro (photo in the front) who tied the MLB record in 2008 of hitting 200 or more hits for 8 consecutive years, 2) Willy Keeler (photo in the middle) who established this record 107 years ago, and a bat used by Isao Harimoto (the Lotte Orions; photo in the rear) when he reached the 3,000th –hit mark in 1980. He holds the Japanese record of most hits, career, of 3,085. In 2008, Ichiro marked the 3,083th-hit, in NPB and MLB combined, only 2 short of Harimoto’s record.

Ichiro’s bat was donated by Mizuno Corporation in 2007. It is made of aodamo and its shape has been almost unchanged since he made his pro baseball debut in 1991. Its coating had been transparent in his NPB days, and black in MLB days. Also on display are his plain bat when he played for the Orix Braves in 1995 and the black one he used in the 2006 WBC.

Keeler’s bat is one of the artifacts donated in 1959 by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in celebration of the opening of their counterpart in Japan. He flourished at the turn of the 20th century and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. His bat is only 77.5 cm long, which was unique enough to have been put on display from time to time. Ichiro’s outstanding feat has brought Keeler to light as it did George Sisler a few years ago. It seems it is by a strange turn of fate that Keeler’s bat which has been silently kept in store here for almost 50 years has suddenly been brought to the limelight in a different way beyond the imagination of people in those days.

Harimoto’s feat was done at Kawasaki Stadium in a game against the Hankyu Braves on May 28. His commendation ceremony was held later on July 6 in the same stadium when he received many commemorative items from the Pacific League and 40 companies. Junji Ohno, the then president of our museum, was present at the ceremony and was given the most memorable item from Harimoto himself.

Indeed Ichiro’s splendid performance has turned the spotlight on the great record achieved 107 years ago in MLB and the most career hits (3,085) in NPB. Please don’t miss this exhibition; for it will be a rare occasion to see those three bats gathered in one place. Also on display are bats used by Sadaharu Oh, Katsuya Nomura, and Hiromitsu Kadota, three representative Japanese home run batters, and many idiosyncratic bats like that of  Yutaka Fukumoto which is shaped like tsuchinoko, a mystical snakelike creature.  

p.5  Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (28)
         A dentist called an unrivaled authority on MLB (2-2)
                                   Satoshi Imazato, eldest son of Jun Imazato

As I wrote in Newsletter 18-2, my father, a dentist in Nishiwaki city in Hyogo Prefecture, had obtained a kind of certificate as Japan’s best MLB fan from Commissioner’s Office of America and with that various kinds of publications had been sent to him annually: “Red Book,”, “Green Book,”, “The Rulebook,” and free passes which would admit him to all the MLB stadiums. (Photo above is a sample) Likewise he received from every MLB club such items as caps, uniforms, PR magazines, balls and bats autographed by their players. Among the textbooks thus sent to him were “Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Book,”, “Book given to coaches of Boston Red Sox,”, “Science of Hitting” by Ted Williams, and “How to Defend the Outfield” by Ty Cobb. As those valuable materials were not available in Japan in the 50s and 60s, he translated them into Japanese and offered them in a book form to some of pro baseball players such as Yoshio Yoshida, former manager of the Hanshin Tigers. More and more players sought to get acquainted with my father. Among many famous players who visited our house were Kazuhiro Yamauchi, Minoru Murayama, and Keishi Suzuki as well as Yoshida. In 1992, my father compiled his formerly and newly published pamphlets on American baseball to a book of nearly 500 pages entitled “Baseball Science” and published it from the Hanshin Tigers. It was really a compilation of his researches he undertook over 40 years.

His strong connection with MLB proved a great help for those retired players going to America to make an inspection of MLB. He often wrote a letter of introduction for them and took the trouble by writing to public relations directors to obtain a credential for various people to make an interview. Masataka Nashida, manager of Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighers, was one of his clients. He maintained the most friendly relations with the Hanshin Tigers, so by their request he went over to Detroit three times in 1989 and 1990 and played an important role in forming an alliance between the Hanshin Tigers and the Detroit Tigers. It was most impressive for me to hear him talk joyfully on the affiliation ceremony held at Tiger Stadium.
Though he was a layman, he seemed to be second to none in being versed in baseball English. Later in his life, he compiled a short history of baseball in America. He also translated “The Baseball Agreement” correctly into  Japanese, which helped many people understand the original document correctly in Japanese. This is one of his contributions he left behind him.
When he was interviewed by a baseball magazine sometime in the 1970s, he said, “My dream is to see Japanese players drafted to MLB and playing an active part in there.”  It is not a dream now. Many Japanese Major Leaguers are making a spectacular showing these days and are reported extensively through mass media almost every day. My father in heaven will be looking fondly down the world below. I am afraid all my story may sound full of boastings about my father. But I am proud that a mere dentist that he was opened a route from Japan to MLB and at the same time I am very grateful that even now he is said to have been very well acquainted with things about MLB.
(Photo below: My father flanked by two Hanshin Tiger players: Kazuhiro Yamauchi (8) and Yoshio Yoshida (23)

p.6  Library Note       “The Base Ball News”
                                       ~ A unique baseball magazine published in Osaka~
                                                                              Akiko Ogawa, co-librarian

It is true that most of the books and magazines on baseball at our Baseball Library were published in Tokyo, but there are some exceptions. They are few in number, but sometimes they contain information unavailable from those published in Tokyo. Among them, “the Base Ball News” has been consulted most often at our Baseball Library. It made its first appearance in March, 1932, in tabloid size (38cm x 26.5 cm), and was published three times a month (on the 1st, 10th and 20th) from Osaka Business Youth Baseball Society, which was renamed Base Ball News Company from its 3rd number. The announcement in the first number said, “It is deplorable that former sports magazines were apt to deal with news about particular districts and events, for example, Tokyo Big6 Baseball League. We will cover all the baseball news not only across the Japan proper, but all over Manchuria, Korea and Formosa in order to meet the interest and demand of baseball fans in general.”

Shigeru Chiba, who played for the Yomiuri Giants and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, used to visit our Baseball Library in his later life and lamented the absence of the valuable magazines which would have given him the very information he had sought, only he remembered their pink color alone. Happily we managed to obtain some 50 volumes of the magazine in time and have come to realize their usefulness.
Take an example from the game played on January 22, 1933 between Kyoto Commercial School (alma mater of Eiji Sawamura) and Kyoto First Commercial School. “The History of KCS Baseball Club” mentions its result briefly with its score 3-0, but The BBN, No.23 (published on February 1, 1933) gives us a boxscore, from which we know that Sawamura pitched a no-hit, no-run game there and then. Likewise games in any prefecture outside of Tokyo and Osaka are widely reported in this magazine, though, of course, games in Tokyo and Osaka are given more coverage. It sometimes happens that this magazine gives the result of a game which was not available in  “野球界, or Baseball World” and “運動界、or Athletic World.”
When in need, you are invited to try and consult any number of this magazine, only all we have at our Baseball Library are No.1 (March, 1932) through No.200 (February, 1937).

p.7
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. Changes in officials

On the occasion of the expiration of the present term of office on October 2, 2008, 10 directors and 30 councilors were reappointed to their offices and the following officials were newly appointed.

Chairman of the board of directors   Ryozo Kato, Commissioner of Baseball
Director         Shinya Sakai, owner of the Hanshin Tigers
                     Shinji Kushiro, Vice President & representative director of Tokyo Dome
Auditor           Toshiho Kanda, Project chief, Director of the Yomiuri Shimbun
                      Hidekazu Kitada, Executive officer, director of Tokyo Dome
Councilor        Ryozo Kato, Commissioner of Baseball
                      Shoji Numazawa, Managing director of the Hanshin Tigers
                      Yoshio Murayama, Managing director of the Orix Buffaloes
                      Masahiro Mori, Managing director of Japan Sports Assocaition

     2.Obituary    

Yoshiyuki Iwamoto, 1981 Hall of Famer, passed away on September 26, 2008 at the age of 96. May his soul rest in peace.

     3.Link (2-1) “Thank you, Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium!
                                   Baseball Festa”

                 To celebrate the closing of Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium,
                 franchise of Hiroshima Toyo Carp, a gala festival is going to be held
                 at Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium from 9:00 until 16:00, on Saturday,                  December 6, 2008. FormerCarp stars will play an intra-squad game.
                 Other events are stadium tour, baseball clinic, exhibition of paneled photos
                 and uniforms, and so on.
                 The stadium was originally opened on July 22, 1957.
                 Please go and visit the following Website for further information.
                          www.city.hiroshima.jp/
 
          Link (2-2) “Weekly Baseball” Special Exhibition ~ Its 50 Years of History
                                       remaining in baseball fans’ Memory

                  To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of “Weekly
                  Baseball,” a special exhibition is being held at Ikeda Memorial Art Museum
                  in Minami Uonuma City in Niigata Prefecture. The exhibition is slated to
                  last until Monday, November 17, 2008.
                   “Weekly Baseball” was originally published by Tsuneo Ikeda, 1989
                  Hall of Famer, in 1958, when Golden Boy Shigeo Nagashima made a
                  spectacular debut in apan’s pro baseball.
                  For further information, please go and visit the following Website.
                          http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~ikedaart

        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 November to January, the museum will be
                        closed on: November 10 and 17; December 1, 8, 15,22,29,30 and 31;
                                        January 1, 19 and 26.

          Editor’s Note  2009 Hall of Famer(s ) will be announced at the Press                                Conference at 15:00, Friday, on January 13, 2009.  
                                The press conference is open to all of the visitors on that day.
          Notice: Due to innovation work the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
                     will be closed from Monday, February 2, 2009
                     until Monday, February 9, 2009.

p.8  Essay (34)    KOSHIEN NAMING BRICK MEMBERS
                           Yasuhito Hamamura, member of the Players Selection Committee

It may be compared to donating a tile to a temple. When the great renovations of the Temple of the Great Buddha of Nara was made centuries ago, a great deal of name-engraved tiles were donated from people from all over the country. To commemorate its renewal, Hanshin Koshien Baseball Stadium will lay bricks with names and messages carved on along the part of the perimeter behind the right stands. The subscription began in last September and brick laying is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2010. It will be a welcome project for ardent Hanshin Tiger fans to leave their names or messages on their adorable place. The subscription fee is 21,000yen and the first 30,000 applicants will be fortunate enough to register their names to be engraved.

The stadium was built in 1924 for the National Middle School Baseball Championship and named Great Playground of Koshien. When the Hanshin Tigers were organized 1935, it became their franchise. There was a gymnasium and a swimming pool inside. In 1938 and 1939, a ski jump meet was held in the ground! Towards the end of the last war, it had a strafing attack and had its iron doors shot through and they were in use for long after that. With its long history of middle and high school baseball, pro baseball, and eventful life, Kenji Ageshio, chief of the stadium, calls it proudly as a cultural asset of Japan. When major repairs became unavoidable, he chose renovation instead of reconstruction. He made an inspection of several stadiums in America, and decided to hold to history and tradition.

The famous ivy covering of the wall is no exception. To foster a sense of unity among fans and players and to build a participation-orientated stadium, he sent seedlings of ivy to 4,170 high schools across the country which belong to National High School Baseball Federation and asked them to raise the ivy. 233 HS have returned the grown-up ivy, which are due to grow on the walls of the stadium again.

Shooting jet balloons are also a speciality at Koshien Stadium. I investigated the root of this custom and wrote an article about it. A member of the cheering squad for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp living in Osaka testified that in the spring of 1978, while looking for a new way and tool to root for the team, he came across a jet balloon at a wholesale district in Osaka. He brought it in to Koshien Stadium and shot it when his Carp players made a splendid performance. The custom spread to the Hanshin Tiger rooters at once. At first it was prohibited to be sold at the stadium as it proved only a pile of litter, but it was soon acknowledged as much better than confetti. Jet balloons of various bright colors were shot up in Koshien Stadium at the bottom of  the 7th inning. It is not too much to say that the custom has grown up to another item of Koshien culture in the course of 30 years after its appearance.

Kazuo Sayama, a freelance writer who had originally proposed the idea of carving names on brick said in the prospectus at the press conference, “There is something nostalgic with a ball park. It is all the more so with Koshien Stadium. To many people it can be compared to their alma mater.”  All of baseball-loving people aspire to pay a visit to the stadium. The current renovation work will surely enhance the fascinations of Koshien Stadium.  

 

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