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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.19, No.2

p.1  Induction Ceremony for the 2009 Hall of Famers
                                                          Hiroshi Satou, President
   The Induction Ceremony for the 2009 Hall of Famers was held at Sapporo Dome preceding Game 1 of the 2-game All-Star Series on Friday, July 24, 2009. 

  Tsutomu Wakamatsu, 165th Hall of Famer, was drafted from NTT Hokkaido to the Yakult Swallows in 1971 as the 3rd choice. The “little great hitter” carried the team to the first victory in the Central League in 1978 by batting .341 and won the MVP. His lifetime BA (.319) is still the best record in the C.L.. He is the first Hall of Famer who was born in Hokkaido.

    Noboru Aota, 166th Hall of Famer, who played for Takigawa Middle School, joined the Tokyo Giants at the cessation of the National MS Baseball Championship at Koshien in the summer of 1942 and led the League in RBI in 1943. Though he played afterwards for the Taiyo Whales and the Hankyu Braves, his most active part as a leading home run batter was for the Tokyo Giants (1948-52). The powerful batter nicknamed “jamauma, or unruly horse” boasts 5 most home runs, 2 most RBI, and 1 batting champion.

    Yoshinori Ohkoso, 167th Hall of Famer, got the ownership of the Nittaku Home Flyers in 1973, renaming it as the Nippon Ham Fighters. He was known as the most ardent owner of a pro baseball club who watched his team’s games at the ballparks. Though he resigned his post in 2002, he was very enthusiastic about the management and had laid the foundations for the present Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

    The Induction Ceremony was held as part of the opening ceremony. Tsutomu Wakamatus, Michiko Aota, (widow of Noboru Aota) and Hiroji Ohkoso (son of Yoshinori Ohkoso, and present owner of the Fighters) were warmly greeted by all the managers, coaches and members of the Central and Pacific Leagues’ All-Stars who stood along the two foul lines.
The new Hall of Famers and their guests stood near the pitcher’s mound while the big screen introduced the playing days of the new Hall of Famers.

    Ryozo Kato, 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 Kato to Wakamatsu, and from Tatsunori Hara (Manager of the Tokyo Giants) to Michiko Aota, and from Masataka Nashida (Manager of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters) to Ohkoso. After photo taking, Wakamatsu said in his acceptance speech on behalf of the new inductees, “It is a great honor to be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in the very place where I began to play baseball.” The ceremony ended with a standing ovation from the spectators, shouting “Wakamatsu!”

The Inductrion Ceremony for Ichiro Kimijima, 168th Hall of Famer, is scheduled to be held at Gakushi-Kaikan ( the birthplace of baseball in Japan) on Friday, September 18, 2009.

(Photo from left: Tsutomu Wakamatsu, Ryozo Kato, Tatsunori Hara,
                          grandson of Noboru Aota, Michiko Aota, Masataka Nashida,
                          and Hiroji Ohkoso)

p.2    Summer Exhibitions and Events for 2009

 A) Events

  1.  Baseball study by Elementary and Junior High School students

                 Saturday, July 18, 2009 through Monday, August 31, 2009
            Baseball terminology, stadiums, equipment, statistics, and history of baseball will                provide good topics for free study for juvenile students during their summer
            The two librarians and student assistants 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 2008)

   2.  Demonstration of bat making 
                 Tuesday, August 18 and Wednesday, August 19, 2009
                 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 6h 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 make a good subject for free study. (Photo from 2008)

B)  Exhibition

  1.  Special Exhibition: “Hall of Famers for 2009”
    ~The 3rd of the special exhibition series in celebration of the 50th anniversary
            of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum~
                    Friday, July 24, 2009 through Sunday, September 27, 2009
                    At the Baseball Hall of Fame
             The exhibition features Tsutomu Wakamatsu, Noboru Aota,
             Yoshinori  Ookoso and Ichiro Kimijima.
             Artifacts and photos related to the new inductees, and their plaques,
             are on display with their biographies and records.
  2.  “Exhibition commemorative of the 80th Intercity Baseball Championship”
            Friday, July 24, 2009 through Sunday, September 6, 2009
        At the Exhibition Hall of the Baseball Museum
           Under the auspices of Japan Amateur Baseball Association
            and  the Mainichi

      In celebration of the 80th Intercity Baseball Championship, the Exhibition traces
      the 80 years of history from its beginning in 1927 by showing photos, posters,
      excerpts from newspapers and other related material. The feature items are the first
      and second “Black Lion” Championship flags, uniforms worn by champion teams
      headed by ENEOS (2008 winners, Yokohama), the first MVP trophy
      (Hashido Award), and the first fighting spirit trophy (Kuji Award).

     (Photo: the first “Black Lion” championship flag used until the 44th Championship
                in 1973. It was designed by Houan Kosugi, getting an idea from a mural
               excavated in  Babylon.)

    p.3    Inductees Remembered (24)
                       A memory of my father
                       Atsushi Uchimura, eledest son of Yushi Uchimura, 1983 Hall of Famer

     My father said to his last, “My profession is psychiatry, and baseball is my hobby,” but to him baseball was  undoubtedly beyond the scope of an amateur. The root of his brilliant baseball career began in his early  teens when he enjoyed playing sandlot baseball with neighborhood boys at the former site of Toyama drill ground (now in Shinjuku Ward in Tokyo). He seemed to have played baseball in earnest when he entered Ichiko (the present Department of Liberal Art at Tokyo University) and joined its baseball club.

    In his first year, he pitched for the club in the traditional game against Sanko (the present Department of Liberal at Kyoto University) and was bitterly defeated. In his second year, however, he defeated not only Sanko but Waseda and Keio universities and established Ichiko Dynasty. It was widely reported in the newspapers and he cherished his scrapbooks for a long time. The Ichiko Dynasty ended in his third year when Ikko was defeated by revengeful Waseda and Keio Nines, though it beat its peer teams (Sanko and Gakushuin). In the same year (1918) he coached Nagano Normal School. Though he did not join the team when it entered the National Middle School Baseball Championship (it was then played at Naruo Stadium) ,  he gave instruction from nearby stand and led the team to finish second in the tournament.

    At Tokyo University, he enjoyed baseball as a member of Ikko OB club and played against a foreigners ‘ club  consisting of Americans living in Japan. After graduating from the Medical School, he studied in Germany. He taught at the Medical Department of Hokkaido University from 1927 to 1936 as a professor of psychiatry majoring in brain pathology. In the meantime, he coached Victor Starffin in Asahikawa and in 1934 he went all the way to Hakodate to watch a baseball game between the All-Japan and the All-Americans. It was a historic baseball team with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and he photographed it in 16-mm film (The film is preserved at NHK archives). He came back to Tokyo in 1936 and taught at Tokyo University. It was there and then that I was born. I have four elder sisters and a younger sister.

    Soon after the last war, probably in the fall of 1946, he took me to Korakuen Stadium to watch a game by the Yomiuri Giants. I will never forget how I was excited to see Kawakami with a famous red bat. My father knew that I was engrossed in playing “grounder base” and “triangular base” and decided to let me see genuine baseball. Retrospectively it was my father who was more excited to see pro baseball in action. At that time he had been urged by Tsuneo Ikeda, president of Baseball Magazine Co., to write articles on baseball in America in his monthly magazine. At first he declined several times, but versed in American baseball as he was, he finally accepted his request. It may partly by this reason that he took me to games by coming American teams; San Francisco Giants, the Capeharts, and a picked college team.
    It was a custom for him, under the pretence of resort health therapy, to spend two months in a villa in Karuizawa and engross himself in reading and study. But when the noises of sandlot baseball played in a nearby ground reached his ear, he could not resist the temptation. He enjoyed watching the game, taking special interest in the pitchers, from the special seat behind the backstop. When a winning pitcher joined the Hanshin Tigers, he was said to have given his recommendation to the club. It so happened that the second baseman of Nagano Normal School was the headmaster of an elementary school in Karuizawa. He was so glad to meet his former student that he decided to form a sandlot baseball team with his former students and their friends and to play baseball once every summer. The team was called Lude Bene Club, named after a book written by Kanzo Uchimura, his famous father. Kanzo had held a meeting in Karuizawa every summer for missionary work, being offered a house by a son of an innkeeper, for whom he thanked by writing a book “Lude Bene, Labora Bene.” Thus my father had a good time in Karuizawa every summer.

    When television became an inevitable item in every home, he enjoyed watching sports on TV, particularly the High School baseball summer tournament at Koshien Stadium. His hobby was to guess at the kind of pitches with his family and guests. Besides baseball, he liked shogi and eating out. He played shogi with his juniors at his psychiatry department. He hated to lose. When he was losing against my eldest son in the first grade of junior high school, all of the family were appalled at his remark, “You must have moved a hand while I was away!” He also took to mah-jong and golf but lost often to his family. His usual complaint was, “You try to win by an easy hand,” or “Such a sport playable even by a person without athletic ability is no fun at all.” Drawing a pun with a Japanese proverb, “i-shoku-ju, or food, clothing and shelter,” he stressed the importance of “i-shoku, or medicine and food,” and told us to be rather luxurious in taking food. True to his word, he was such a food buff that he took us all to Imperial Hotel when they began to serve Scandinavian smorgasbord.

    He was such a fond father at home. But he cut a different figure when he was Commissioner of Baseball. On returning home after a seminar for rookies, he told me, “Nomura and Inao are bright indeed. You must be more diligent, or you will be a loser.” Such a spurring word mentioning smart guys in pro baseball as instances was a quite surprise to me who was in a quite different situation. Actually he loved baseball and was glad to see the rising generation who will bear the destinies of pro baseball on their shoulders.

p.4  Rara avis (67)  Ad hoc website celebrating the 50th Anniversary of
                              the Baseball Hall of Fame
                                          Takahiro Sekiguchi,  Co-curator

  Please come and visit our ad hoc website at:

     The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary on June 12, 2009. in conjunction with this anniversary, an exhibition,  “50 years of History of the Baseball Hall of Fame” was held from June 5 to July 20 as the 2nd of its special exhibitions in commemoration of the 50th anniversary. The Induction  Ceremonies for almost all of the Hall of Famers until 2008 were shown in 49  large photo panels, which proved most popular in the exhibition. The visitors were  glad to see their old heroes inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in a gala ceremony.  Some of their artifacts were on display and changes of the election rules were fully  explained.

       The feature of the ad hoc website at the above address celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame, which was set up on June 8, 2009, is the Induction Ceremony Photo Gallery, where the visitor can see all of the Hall of Famers (including for 2009 and excepting for 1962 and 1986) in their Induction Ceremonies in 346 pieces of photos.
(NB  There is always exceptions. As mentioned on page 1, the induction ceremony for
         Ichiro Kimijima is slated on September 18, 2009. His photos will be included
         on the next day.)

p.5  Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (31)
              The day when I saw pro baseball, and 30 years later…..
                                   Hidetaka Inazuka, Sustaining member of the BHFM
     It was on June 15, 1960 that I watched a pro baseball game for the first time in life. The game between the Giants and the Whales was held at Tomakomai Municipal Stadium as an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Tomakomai paper factory run by Ouji Seishi Co. It was the first and probably the last regular pro baseball game there. The preceding game in Sapporo had been rained out, so the game in Tomakomai (whose population was 63,000) attracted capacity spectators of 13,000. As an old photo shows, people who were not able to buy tickets had to climb up the roofs of nearby houses. I was a fourth grader in elementary school. I was an ardent fan of Nagashima, and wore number 3 on my uniform. My dream was to become a pro baseball player. My father had bought me the admission ticket. I was excused from class after the second lesson in the morning. I left the school cheered by schoolmates who looked on me with envy. I wondered how I should “do my best” as a spectator, but I was excited, expecting to see my hero show great performance in the game.

    On arriving the stadium, I saw an impressive array of star players. To mention a few, (the Giants) Nagashima, Oh, Yonamine, Hirooka, Mori, (the Whales ) Kuwata, two Kondos, Akiyama, and Doi. With rice balls prepared by my mother in hand, I waited for the game to begin at two in the afternoon. The two starting pitchers, Horimoto and Akiyama, would have appeared on the previous day. In the top of the 3rd inning, the Whales scored 2 triggered by Akiyama’s two-base hit. In the bottom of same inning, with two runners on bases, southpaw Suzuki replacing Akiyama, retired Sakazaki, but Oh hit two-base hit to right-center, scoring two runs. The tied game broke when in the bottom of the 7th inning, pitcher Horimoto hit an unexpected solo home run. The Giants won the game 3 to 2. How about Nagashima? He got 1 strikeout and 3 bases on balls. Though I was not rewarded by Nagashima’s spectacular showing, I was amazed at speedy performances by pro baseball players. The pitchers’ fast balls, infielders’ quick throws to the first baseman were so speedy that I was apt to lose sight of them if I was not careful enough to follow them. On the following day I was an instant hero when I told my classmates what I saw in the game.

 30 years afterwards, I was in the central part of the U.S., heading to a stadium surrounded by a cornfield. I was to shoot a TV program in which Nagashima would stand in a bumpy playground where the famous baseball movie, Field of Dreams, had taken place. It was an hour’s flight from Chicago and further two hours’ drive. Before leaving Japan, I asked Nagashima to watch the movie on a video which I had handed him. It was so arranged that, while the cameraman waiting at the entrance of the stadium, Nagashima and I would approach the stadium by limousine from a hundred meters away, and getting off at my cue, he would make a nostalgic remark at the beginning of the program.  

When the car started, he asked me, nonchalantly, “Inazuka-San, what should I say here?” “What???” I understood everything at once. It was a happening which should have been expected of him. I recalled with great regret how I had explained him about the purpose and content of the program before leaving Japan. My brain worked most briskly in my life. Perhaps I made the finest presentation I had ever made. In only a minute, I told him the story of the movie and what was expected him to speak on the spot.

 When the car arrived, Nagashima lighted from it calmly and said, “What a wonderful place! This is a sanctuary of baseball! It was my long dream to be here. Baseball of dream was played here….” He did a greater job than I had anticipated. His performance in White Sox uniform was splendid indeed. On that night, over dinner with all the staff, I touched on a game I saw 30 years before. He answered, “In that game, Horimoto was great as both a pitcher and a batter.” What!, Does he remember all of 2,186 games he played in his days? It was another shock and experience of excitement to me.

p.6  Library Note       Media Guides published by 30 MLB clubs
                                       Taku Chinone, co-librarian

     We are glad to see some dozen Japanese players headed by Ichiro are taking an active part in the MLB this year. It may be fun to know in which stadium they are playing. In about 30 years from 1961 to 1998, the MLB expanded from 16 clubs to the present 30 clubs (AL 14, NL 16) and their stadiums have also undergone many changes in both buildings and names. This year saw the latest change in New York. The Yankees are playing in the new Yankee Stadium and the Mets in the new Citi Field.

The list below (regrettably deleted in this resume) shows (1) the name of a club, (2) its stadium, 3) capacity of the stadium, 4) its dimensions of the playing field, 5) the first regular game in the present stadium, 6) the first home run , and (7) its surface (natural or artificial). Fortunately the Baseball Library has been provided by the MLB’s Commissioner Office with all of the 30 media guides for the past three years. They are wonderful sources of information which every MLB fan will surely find interesting and informative. For example, the profile of Ichiro (in the Mariners’ Media Guide) spans as many as 8 pages.

A   Sustaining members for 2009 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 1959-2009 (Published in March, 2009)
    (Junior members excepted)

        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.

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 Tuesday, June 9 and approved the following items on the agenda; reports on activities, statement of accounts for 2008 and auditor’s certificate for 2008.

  2. Changes in staff
New director    Tatsuro Matsumae, president of Japan Student Baseball Association
                      Masatake Matsuda, president of Japan Amateur Baseball Association
New councilor   Masatake Matsuda, president of Japan Amateur Baseball Association
                       Norihito Nishiwaki, managing director of the Chunichi Dragons
                       Shiromitsu Hanai, the Pacific League Division of NPB

Retiring director    Tadao Koike, Hajime Toyokura
Retiring councilor   Shigeru Murata, Haruo Wakimura, Kazumasa Ito

On sale

  1. Commemorative balls autographed by Tsuneo Horiuchi (2008 Hall of Famer) and Tsutomu Wakamatsu (2009 Hall of Famer) . They are official NPB balls encased
    in a glass box with a pedestal, and certificated by the Baseball Hall of Fame
    and Museum. The supplements are “The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, 1959-2009,” and 6 admission tickets to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
    The price is both \25,000, tax included.
    Purchase can be made by applying to the NPB Website at:

    2.“The Baseball Hall of Fame, 1959 – 2009”
       ~In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ~
         215 pages, 2,500yen, Baseball Magazine Co., Publisher
         Contents: Pictorial biography of 168 Hall of Famers
                        Pictorial history of the Baseball Hall of Fame
                       Rules of election
                       War memorials for fallen baseball players
 It is also available by sending 2,800 yen (including shipping charge) to the following
 address: 3-61, Koraku-1-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0004

     3.New Administration Manager
Toshio Hori, who was the administration manager of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for four years and six months, was transferred to the Tokyo Dome and was succeeded by Mitsumasa Kaihoku.
He graduated from the department of economics, Gakushuin University, and entered the Korakuen Stadium (now Tokyo Dome) in 1979. 

      4.Oncoming commemorative exhibitions
            “University Baseball Exhibition”   
                  Saturday, September 12, 2009 through Monday, October 12, 2009
            “60th Anniversary of 2-league Pro Baseball Exhibition”
                  Saturday, October 17, 2009 through Saturday, January 17, 2010
         Details of these exhibitions will be announced on our Website
         one month before they begin.

      5. 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.)
     NB  The hours will be extended to 19:00 on the following days
             when pro baseball games at Tokyo Dome begins at 14:00.
               August 8, 9, 15 and 16; September 5, 6, 21, 22, 23, and 27
         Admission: 500yen (300yen)  Adults
                             200yen (150yen)   Primary & Junior High School students
                    (* Per person in groups 20 or more)
                              300yen               Senior citizens aged 65 or over
            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.

                NB  In other words, from August to October, the museum will be closed
                      on the following days.
                           September 7, 14, and 28; October 5, 19, and 26

            Editor’s Note  The next number (19-3) of our Newsletter will report the Induction                                 Ceremony for Ichiro Kimijima, which is scheduled to be held
                                at Gakushi Kaikan on Friday, September 18, 2009.

p.8  Essay (37)    Even the head of a sardine …..
                              Kazunari Horayama,
                                 director of Players Selection Committee (Hochi Shimbun)

   I am seldom, if ever, asked to make a speech, but the other day, I was asked by a certain university to tell about recent pro baseball to an audience mostly consisting of the Giants fans. They were unexpectedly not students, but men and women of my age or a little older. They had rooted for the Giants many years, and their knowledge of their favorite team quite surprised me. At questions and answers towards the end of my speech, I was asked, or requested, by two people back-to-back. “On television, we see many players wearing their hair long. I am afraid our children may imitate them.” “There are players who do not show their stockings. They roll down their trousers ankle-deep. It’s uncomfortable to see them.” “A necklace or something sticks out of the uniform. It is frivolous and disagreeable.” “A player in the batter’s box chewing gums is quite out of place in a hotly contested game.” A baseball reporter as I was, they expected me to tell those complaints to those “ill-mannered” players. Elderly people are usually allergic to these fashions and there is something in their dissatisfaction. When I saw a J-leaguer with a bizarre hair answer to a TV interviewer, “I wish I would attract attention by my play, not by my hairstyle,” I could not help saying to myself, “Then why not change your hairstyle?”

     On a talk show on TV, Atsushi Oyagi once said, “I once wore my hair in braids. It was my trademark. But when I heard that a kid in braids boasted, ‘it’s very cool to wear hair like Oyagi,’ I forsook my favorite hairstyle on the spot. I don’t know what excuse to make, if my hairstyle is imitated by a kid just because it is cool.” I am no prude and do not like to say like a board of education, “Athletes like pro baseball players must not forget the fact that their every action is always watched by children with interest.” But I do want to point out that that they must be well aware that people who have many opportunities to appear in the mass media have a lot of influence on children. To wear trousers ankle-deep hiding stockings seems to have a merit of protecting ankles, but old baseball fans will naturally find it dissatisfactory. I myself applauded in my heart when I saw Shinnosuke Abe and Lee Seung Yeop play, as if they had tacit agreement, showing their stockings. It may be my mere imagination, but their action gave more sense of speed to playing than otherwise. But I must admit, however, that to wear hair and stockings individualistically might be one of the appeals pro baseball players have to their fans. According to opinions sympathetic to players, “ugly” necklaces have the effect of improving the circulation of blood and lightening a stiff shoulder It might be better to hesitate to affirm that wearing necklaces is frivolous. Even chewing gums in play might help players relax and heighten their concentration.

    My conclusion is, taking pros and cons into consideration, that senior baseball fans should be a little more lenient to behaviors of pro baseball players. Day by day they are in ruthless competition where good results are everything. As a Japanese proverb goes, “Even the head of a sardine can ward off to someone who’s convinced it can,” anything can produce a good result if they believe it does. They will cling on to anything ~a necklace sticking out of their uniform, or chewing gums in the batter’s box ~ if they believe it will help them make a good pitch, or produce more safety hits.


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