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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.20, No.3

                                                   (This English version was prepared by Ryuichi Suzuki)

p.1  Induction Ceremony for the 2010 Hall of Famer
                                                          Hiroshi Satou, President

The Induction Ceremony for the 2010 Hall of Famer, the late Mr. Masayuki Furuta, was held on Friday, August 27 at Tokyo Dome immediately before the start of the first game of the 81st Intercity Baseball Tournament. (For the two other fellow inductees, please refer to Newsletter 20-2) 

On graduating from Rikkyo University in 1956, he chose to join the Kumagai Gumi. With his clutch hitting and agile fielding, he played an important role in nonprofessional baseball, particularly in the Intercity Baseball Tournament until 1968. In his 13 consecutive years of participation in the ICBT, either as player or manager, his team won 3 championships, the first being in 1957. In that year, he was selected as a member of the All-Japan and contributed a great deal to its victory in the 3rd Global World Series of Baseball held in Detroit. After a brief retirement, he played for Kumagai Gumi until 1980, participating in the ICBT 3 more  times. He continued to decline many offers from pro baseball and devoted himself to the development of amateur baseball by filling various important posts with Japan Amateur Baseball Association.

The Induction Ceremony was held on the diamond being watched by a pack of spectators in the stands and players of the both teams standing in front of the dugouts who were to compete in the first game. Surely it  was the best venue for Furuta nicknamed “Mr. ICBT.” After his brilliant career was shown on the Aurora Vision, the replica of his plaque was presented to Mrs.Yoshiko Furuta by Ryozo Kato, chairman of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It was followed by a bouquet presentation by Keiji Osawa, a teammate of Furuta at Rikkyo University. (N.B. He passed away soon after this ceremony on October 7)  After a commemorative photo was taken (photo below), Mrs. Furuta made an impressive acceptance speech (photo above).(photo below: from left: Ryozo Kato, Tetsuya Furuta (2nd son), Mrs. Furuta, Keiji Osawa, Junya Furuta (3rd son) and his family)
    
p.2  Rara avis (72)  Winning balls obtained by Ichiko Nine
                                          Miwako Atarashi, Co-curator

Let me introduce two of the winning balls of Ichiko Nine which are on display at the current “Development of Baseball ~ in retrospect of baseball in former days.”
Left in photo is from the game in which Ichiko(First High School) defeated Sanko (Third HS) with at Sanko’s ground in Kyoto on April 6, 1914. The game went into extra innings with a 1-1 tie, but Ichiko scored 3 in the top of the 13th inning, notching the fourth win in the annual matchup between the two which had began in 1906 (or 4 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie). According to “A History of Sanko Baseball Club ~ In celebration of its 100th anniversary,” a red-colored cheering flag was first used at this game. The matchup had continued until 1948 and Ichiko compiled a 18-19 and 1 tie record in the total of 38 games.
   
Right in photo is from the game against Keio University held at Mita-Tsunamachi Field on May 8, 1915. It was a come-from-behind victory for Ichiko with a score of 4 to 3, and indeed, the first win in 12 years over Keio University since 1903. Incidentally Hisashi Koshimoto (1967 Hall of Famer) played third base and batted second in this game.

It is to be noted that there are as many as 202 seams in the left ball as compared with the ball on the right which has 105 seams. The number of seams in those days seems to be varied and arbitrary indeed. The present official ball has 108 seams, but there is no knowing when the number of seams was definitely established. As far as we know, the number of seams was stipulated as 108 in the notes of article 1.13 in the Latest Baseball Rules (1953) , but the fact remains that, as far as I counted, all of the official balls in our collection and used in pre-war pro baseball have 112 seams.

    N.B. The current exhibition, “Development of Baseball ~ in retrospect of baseball
           in former days” is being is being held until Sunday, November 28. It features the           changes of  baseball rules, supplemented by the  display of bats, balls and gloves                   which were used in the Meiji and Taisho Eras.

p.3 Inductees Remembered (29)

                                My father and His Books 
                                                Nobuko Yorihisa
                                                Eldest daughter of Kenzo Hirose, 1973 Hall of Famer

After graduating from higher elementary school in Aichi Prefecture, he worked as a page boy at Shin Aichi Shimbun, delivering messages and helping proofreading, and at the same time he taught himself by reading transcripts of lectures published by Waseda University.  Later he came up to Tokyo and became a sports reporter at Kokumin Shimbun and then at Jiji Shimpo. He had little to do with baseball, only he was mobilized sometimes as a substitute at a recreational baseball game for reporters.

In 1936, however, at an ardent persuasion by Ryuji Suzuki, his former boss at Kokumin Shimbun, he became the official scorer of the newly-started Nippon Professional Baseball League. (Suzuki represented Dai Tokyo,  one of the seven initial member clubs). At the same time, he kept on working for JS, so that he wrote in the morning, worked at a stadium in the afternoon, and wrote again at the JS in the evening. It was a mystery for me how he managed to combine two jobs successfully. After the war, many games were played in the country and it was usual with him to leave home for a month or so to cover the road games. Naturally I rarely saw him at home.

It was only once in his life that he took me with him on the train in his journey on the road. Players were like students on a school excursion. They were scrambling for comics books and ran after a sparrow which strayed into the coach. Michio Nishizawa was amiably looking at his fellow players, while at the door Victor Staffin was reading a book calmly in the bustling atmosphere, which was very impressive for me. It is quite unimaginable today, but in those days, it was the scorer’s job to carry balls in his bag. It happened one morning that when I was helping my father wiping balls in preparation for the game, an umpire dressed in nothing but his loincloths suddenly sprang into the nearby Nagara River. He swam across and back the current amidst a thunderous clapping of hands from the windows of the hotel. He changed into his uniform, and as if nothing had happened, he went out, saying simply, “See you later at the stadium.” How fast it was of his change in attitude! It was a halcyon days indeed when players and umpires enjoyed presenting their different figures in public so freely.

My father was second to none in loving books. During the war, even when the air raid alarm warned us to take refuge in the shelter, he kept on reading by moonlight inside the house. Luckily we escaped war damage. So it was natural for him that in the peaceful time, he came back almost every day with many books in a wrapping cloth. Once when he bought seemingly too expensive books, he came back followed by an anxious bill collector from the secondhand bookstore. As he had intended to become a Japanese language teacher, his collected books increased steadily until thousands of books, magazines and newspapers occupied the whole space imaginable. He boasted that he knew the whereabouts of every one of them and strictly prohibited us from moving them. I remember being scolded severely when I moved a few of them disbelieving in his professed memory. In his later years, he was prone to illness, so I spent much time with him. When he seemed to go out aimlessly, I followed him only to find him buying books.  

After his death, his valuable collections were donated to several institutions. Believe it or not, when all of them were gone, partition screens downstairs collapsed automatically. Honestly speaking, it tells a great deal  that not only the rest of the family but the house itself had endured their pressure. Though my family were buried in old books, it has consoled me to think that all of them are now serving a useful purpose at their new
 places (Baseball Museum being one of them).

In retrospect, I firmly believe that my father spent a happy life in that he became an official scorer by chance at the birth of the NPB and made a contribution, however small it may be, to its great development.

   
p.4  Library Note     Makyujutsu and Junjiro Nagatsuka
                                          Taku Chinone, Co-librarian 

In connection with the current exhibition, “Development of Baseball ~ In retrospect of
former baseball.”  I will introduce one of the books published in the Meiji era and
now on display in it.

Makyujutsu (the art of miracle ball pitching) (1904) was a translated version of The Art of Curve Pitching which was written by Edward J. Prindle in 1880s in the U.S. The translator was Junjiro Nagatsuka, a student at Ichiko. The book consists of two Parts. Part I includes 5 chapters; theory, practice, reasons of and advice for failure, hints for beginners, and conclusion. Part II includes 3 chapters; important points of pitching, maneuver, and general advice for pitchers, mechanism of curve ball, and how to pitch a curve ball and its locus are explained with illustrations. The future scientist added his own notes to help readers’ understanding.

His father was a chair of Ibaraki prefectural assembly and his elder brother was Takashi Nagatsuka, author of Tsuchi (or the earth), a masterpiece of rural literature. Junjiro began to play baseball at Mito middle school and continued playing at Ichiko and played outfield. In 1903.he played rightfield and batted 7th in a game against the crew of the American battleship Kentucky. With Masatomo Hirano, his classmate at both Mito MS and Ichiko, he coached Shimotsuma middle school team and led it win over their invincible alma mater with a score of 5 to 1. Suishu Tobita, 1960 Hall of Famer, was a first grader then and watched him team beaten by a rising Shimotsuma MS. In his Yakyuseikatsu no omoide (Memory of my Baseball Life), Tobita tells that he decided to play baseball for his school because his school’s defeat was a great shock to him. In his another book, Yakyu Jinkokki (Sketches of Noted Baseball Players by Prefecture), he admits that in a sense Junjiro was a benefactor for his baseball life.
He went on to Engineering College at Tokyo Imperial University, but he seems to have stopped playing baseball in his university days, for his name is not to be found in baseball magazines in those days. However, his baseball life at Ichiko as a translator of a book on baseball and a source of inspiration given to Suishu Tobita, future great manager of Waseda University, was undoubtedly deeply involved with baseball in those days.

p.5  Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (36)

                    Baseball scenes at Korakuen Stadium in a Kurosawa movie
                                               Masaru Madate, Sustaining member of the BHFM

How enjoyable it was to see the Yomiuri Giants playing in their old uniforms worn in 1950! In the Old Uniform Series this summer, their players wore pure white uniform, with “Giants” written in small navy-blue letters on the chest, white cap with navy-blue brim, and white stockings with two navy-blue lateral stripes. They brought me back to the day when I first watched the Giants at Korakuen Stadium when I was a 6th grader in elementary school. Their uniforms had changed a little in six years, but they were familiar to me through pictures on Menko cards and photos on boys’ magazines.

The uniforms came home to me when I was a college student. Around 1960, I shunned dispute-torn campus and would often escape to Korakuen Stadium and the cinema  At a cinema which specialized in classic movies, I saw Akira Kurosawa’s film noir, Norainu (Stray Dog) (1949), in which detective Toshiro Mifune whose gun is stolen sets out on an odyssey to reclaim his weapon and to seek out a killer. In a 10-minute scene at jam-packed Korakuen Stadium in the midst of a game between the Giants (in their familiar uniform) and the the Nankai Hawks, a gun broker is caught by detectives. The scene was so impressive that I came to see it several times afterwards to find out its background.

The scenario by Kurosawa had intended to shoot a Giants-Tigers game, as is shown by the list including Kaoru Betto (Hanshin Tigers) along with Tetsuharu Kawakami, Shigeru Chiba and Noboru Aota. I am not sure whether I got the following episode from my acquaintances in cinema world or from some books, but it goes thus. Kurosawa was not satisfied with the shot scene, complaining of its lack of exhilarating atmosphere. It was decided to re-shoot the scene by news cameramen, not by movie cameramen, but they were obliged to shoot a game between the Giants and the Hawks. A frame-by-frame showing, however, revealed that the scoreboard was actually from a Giants-Tigers game. It was apparent that in editing the film, two versions of shooting were used together. How it was like the perfectionist Kurosawa to do troublesome re-shooting!

The live-action scene reminds me a lot of things in my memory of watching games at Korakuen Stadium. The stands in the day game in summer were all in white. There were no clamorous cheer squad. Many spectators were in hat. Like in MLB stadiums, there were no nets on the infield fences barring fans from players in action. What is surprising, in the bottom of the 7th inning, just before the Giants’ offense, spectators stood up in response to “Lucky Seventh” call from PA system and enjoyed 7th inning stretch. The custom has become widely known in Japan through the broadcasting of the MLB games on television, but as it is testified by the movie scene, it was already observed there and then. I am not sure, however, if I myself joined the ceremony in my elementary schooldays.

The movie in question reminds me another interesting scene which is familiar to the old time reporter that I am. When the game was over, I left the press box and descended winding staircases with portholes on the wall to interview players. It is exactly the same place where the culprit was arrested on appearing unsuspiciously at the call of the PA system.

The restored uniforms of the Giants have drawn out memorable scenes one after another like a telescopic handicraft. I am in a mood to say inadvertently, “The sky was quite blue,” but the irreparable fact is that the high, wide and blue sky above Korakuen Stadium has been replaced by the ceiling in Tokyo Dome, and Shigeru Chiba and Noboru Aota, who worked with me at the press box as commentators, are no more alive. I cannot but think, on looking at the former uniforms again, that the old days have gone far away and that only baseball itself has not been unchanged.

p.6  Report on Summer Events

    The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum had about 32, 500 visitors this summer. As in the past years, the following three events catering to elementary and junior high school student were held at the Library and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Hopefully these events proved entertaining and informative to the next generations of baseball fans, in particular to elementary school students.

     1) Baseball Study by Elementary and Junior High School Students

                                 Saturday July 17 through Tuesday, August 31

The 9th annual event aimed at helping them conduct their independent study and have hands-on experience for the summer vacation. In accordance with the main theme, “Let’s touch hardball equipment,” such equipment as bats, gloves, balls, catcher’s protector and mask were put on display. About 2,650 visitors enjoyed trying on the uniform modeled on the 2009 WBC and having their photograph taken.
Other information offered were: process of ball and bat making, history of baseball, stadiums and baseball terminology, etc.
The diagram shows the breakdown of the fields of study which 298 young students chose as their independent study, and their school year. (The items in the diagram, from left: equipment, history, stadium, record, player terminology, pro baseball, and others. New topics for this year were women’s
baseball and draft system.)

     2)  Demonstration of Bat Making     

             Tuesday, August 17 and Wednesday, August 18

It marked the 7th year of bat making demonstration with the cooperation by Mizuno Technics. After demonstration, craftsman Takahiro Watanabe answered many questions from
the floor.

      3) Hands-on Experience of Producing a baseball by a parent-child Team

                               Thursday, August 19

The lucky 20 pairs of child-parent groups chosen by lottery from as many as 133 applications took part in the 2nd annual event. Under the guidance of three craftsmen from Mizuno Industry Ayama, they completed a ball in an hour and were glad to take it home.

p.7  
        A)  Topics             July 2010 through October 2010

  1. Guests
      a)   (photo above left) Masaichi Kaneda, 1988 Hall of Famer, came on August 3           with his Grandchild prior to their watching a game between the Tokyo           Giants and the Hanshin Tigers.
      b)   (photo above right) Reiichi Matsunaga, 2007 Hall of Famer, came on August
             7 to see the exhibition, ”World Baseball ~ How Japan Has Played in Global          Competitions”
  2. Bunkyo Muse-Net Concert
    (photo down left)  To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Bunkyo Civic Hall, a mini
                                  concert has been held at the museums belonging to Bunkyo
                                  Muse-Net. On October 6, the five members from the Tokyo
                                  Philharmonic Orchestra played a brass quintet.
  3. Exhibition on Women’s Baseball
                  Women’s Baseball Corner has been newly set up to commemorate
                  Team Japan’s 2nd consecutive victory at the 4th IBAF Women’s
                   Baseball World Cup on October 12, 2010. It is a showcase of
                   women’ s Baseball, amateur and pro, in Japan.
                       
    B) News from the Baseball Museum

     1  On Sale

     a) Commemorative balls autographed by Osamu Higashio, 2010 Hall of Famer
                        @ 25,000yen (including tax)
                 Please come and visit our Website at: http://www.baseball-museum.or.jp
                 They are official NPB balls encased in a glass box with a pedestal
                 (145 mm x130 mm x 130 mm). The supplements are a certificate
                 published by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum,
                 The Baseball Hall of Fame, 1959~2009, and 6 admission tickets to
                 the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

    b) Baseball authenticated by NPB      @ 1,600yen (including tax)    
                 An “Official Game Ball,” which has a stipulated coefficient of restitution                 (0.41~0.44) is not available commercially.
                 Mailing service is also available with mailing charge: 250yen per ball,
                 400yen for 2~3 balls, 600yen for 4~6 balls.
                 Inquiry is requested for ordering more than 6 balls.
                 Remittance should be made by registered mail.

     c) Green Wrist Band          @ 500yen (including tax)
                 It is a wrist band worn by all of NPB players to appeal to baseball fans to                  participate in a campaign to prevent the global warming. Part of sales will be                  allotted to “Forest of Pro Baseball,” a tree-planting drive to lessen carbon
                 dioxide.

       2.Changes in officials
                New councilor      Akira Ishikawa, operating officer of the Chiba Lotte
                                             Marlins     
                Retiring councilor   Ryuzo Setoyama

       3  Notice   The press conference to announce prospective 2011 Hall of Famer(s)
               will be held at the Baseball Hall of Fame at 15:00 on Friday, January 14, 2011.
               It is open to all the visitors there and then.

  C) 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 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.

                N.B. In other words, from November to January, the museum will be closed
                     on the following days.
                     November 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29
                     December 6, 13, 20, 27, 29, 30 and 31
                     January   1, 17, 24, and 31

p.8  Essay (42)    Hiroshima Toyo Carp, forerunner of innovation of NPB:
                          Satoru Komazawa, member of the Players Selection Committee 
                Hiroshima office, Hochi Himbun  
    
The heated pennant races of the Central and Pacific Leagues were over, and the ensuing Climax Series  (which started in 2007) were a great success in the both leagues. It was a long time ago that the PL complained about few spectators in its games, but now its stadiums are often packed with fans. Colorful and orderly cheering at present, which helps make watching games an enjoyable pastime, is quite different from nasty jeering in the past. It must be admitted that pro baseball in Japan has evolved in a better course with the concerted efforts by the commissioner and twelve baseball clubs.

I have been a beat baseball reporter in Hiroshima for more than 40 years. Cherishing the memory of old days, I have covered the games enjoying the splendor of baseball. A new stadium named Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium Hiroshima, a long-held dream of the citizens and people at large in Hiroshima, was completed last year at a comparatively low cost of 9 billion. It is actually a ball park modeled on the the recent trend in the MLB. Let me itemize a few of its features. A concourse lined with shops and restaurants encircles the whole space under the stands. In the right on the centerfield stands, you can watch the game stretching out on a double seat; in the mezzanine, the surprise terrace offers you tables for a grilled meat party; from the sports bar under the rightfield stands, you can watch the game on the ground level with a jug of beer on hand. Natural turf is used in the playing field. A narrow gap in the left
stands allows lucky passengers on the Bullet Train and the local line to have a glimpse of the inside of the stadium.

The largest number of spectators (1.8 million) in the history of the Carp (est. in 1950) paid their last visit to the old stadium. The new stadium attracted 1.5 million spectators in its initial year, barely surpassing the past record of 1.45 million in 1979. (For the record, the fewest was in 1952 with 0.35 million) As is known well, the Carp was born in 1950 as a citizen’s baseball club, not sponsored by big newspapers or corporations like other clubs. Though born as a symbol of reconstruction of bombarded Hiroshima, it had suffered from management crisis, entailing in delayed payroll and forcing players to move to Nagoya and Osaka for away games by night trains sleeping together on the seat (not on the berth) or in the 3rd-class
coaches. It was an open secret that what helped them survive the management crisis was monetary help by local financial circles and voluntary supporters’ organization which became famous for their “barrel fund raising.”

At present the Carp has been run by the Matsuda family (Hajime Matsuda is a third-generation owner), quite independent of its parent company, which is absolutely unique in Japanese pro baseball. Their management policy is such that they are in the black by keeping the sum total of their players’ annual salary the lowest in the 12 baseball clubs. More than 100 minute items of evaluation of each player enable them to make the contract renewal go smoothly. The owner himself came up with new ideas in producing highly profitable goods. The unprecedented high profit in the new stadium has set a good example to other clubs. The staff are intent on saving waste as much as possible and the team has tried to produce good players by itself (the idea originating with the late owner Kohei Matsuda). You can
name so many players who developed from the farm into regular players: Sachio Kinugasa, Yoshiihiko Takahashi, Akira Etoh, Tomonori Maeda, Tomoaki Kanemoto, Takahiro Arai, Yutaka Ohno, Manabu Kitabeppu, and others. Even Tsuneo Watanabe, former owner of the Yomiuri Giants and notorious for his policy of importing big players from other teams, encouraged their scouts and coaches to inspect the Carp’s farm team in action.

The philosophy of franchise-orientated management has spread across the country: Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters at Sapporo, Tohoku Rakuen Golden Eagles at Sendai, Saitama Seibu Lions at Tokorozawa, and Fukuoka Softbank Hawks at Fukuoka. All of their front offices and marketing departments have made efforts to increase their fans for the success of their baseball clubs. Some clubs are reportedly not in good shape, while others have overcome their crises. It is to be hoped that the commissioner and all of the owners exert their collective wisdom further for the development of pro baseball in Japan.

 

 

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