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Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.21, No.1

                                                                                    (Translated by Ryuichi Suzuki)

p.1  Boys’ Baseball
                                                          Shinichi Hirose, President

At a corner of our Exhibition Hall, boys’ baseball is featured with displays of trophies, photos and other artifacts introducing baseball played by elementary and junior high school students. Prominent among them is Giants Cup 2010:‘AA’ Japan Youth Baseball Championship (AAJYBC). It originally started in 1994 as an ad hoc tournament to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Yomiuri Giants but in 2007 it evolved into an official championship endorsed by JABA. The first winner was the Junior Hawks, whose pitcher Shinta Hifumi led the Tokaidai Sagami High School to the second place in the coveted National High School Baseball Tournament in the summer of 2010 and joined the Hanshin Tigers as the 2nd draft choice this spring. The Junior Hawks belongs to the Boys League which boasts three victories in the AAJYBC, the remaining one being won by a team belonging to Little Senior League. So junior high school students are setting their sights on winning not only the sub-division and national tournament in his own league, but also winning the interleague national championship. (NB The Championship in 2010 was competed by 32 teams representing the seven big junior high regulations baseball leagues, whose total members being 1,397 teams.)

When I was a junior high school student about 40 years ago, (rubber) baseball was played as a club activity of one’s own school and there was no one around me to join an extramural club to play regulation baseball. It was quite natural, because even the pioneer leagues like Boys and Little Senior were set up as late as 1970 and 1972 respectively. Let me take my two sons to show the recent trend. When my eldest son played club baseball, there was no fellow player in the same grade, only one or two being in other grades. His team in Little Senior League had some 40 members in all, but now it now has 40 in one grade and 120 in all. My second son (who succeeded his brother) has five or six fellow players belonging to different clubs. Situations may be different according to districts, but I have a feeling that a big change is coming to junior high baseball.

Fortunately, despite the recent big earthquake, the National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament was safely held at Koshien Stadium and the same with the like tournament of Little Senior Leagues in Osaka. It can be surmised on brief perusal that almost 70 percent of all the players participating in the current NIHSBT played regulation baseball in their junior high school days. That has become, before we knew it, prerequisite indeed in order to realize their dream of playing in Koshien Stadium. It was announced in January this year by JABA that Japan Junior High Regulation Baseball Council consisting of the aforementioned seven big leagues will be inaugurated and that its function is the adjustment of the domestic and international tournaments and the formation of a team representing Japan. It is welcome that leagues with their different history and philosophy cooperate together to achieve their common purpose of fostering ideal junior high school baseball. I would like to follow the changes in the forthcoming ten years with much interest.

Message: We would like to extend our sincere sympathy to people in Tohoku and Kanto areas who have suffered much damage from the recent big earthquakes and tsunami. We pray for their quickest recovery.  Though little damage has been done to our exhibits and books, we are sorry that the hours at our  Baseball Museum were forced to be shortened until the end of April due to the power shortage.

p.2   A      Topics from Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
                     (February through April, 2011)                                       

  1.  Homecoming of a Hall of Famer  On March 8, Toshiharu Ueda, 2003 Hall of                                                        Famer, was interviewed by Baseball Magazine                                                       at the Reception Room. The interview will
                                                          appear in The Golden History of the Hankyu                                                       Braves, which is to be published in early May                                                       this year.
  2. Former women’s pro baseball stars visit  Mineko Kohsaka (Osaka Nichinichi                                                    Sisters, left in photo) and Masako Takubo(Sogo                                                    Flowers, right in photo)  visited us on March 16
                                                        to see Women’s Baseball Corner.
  3.  Master Kubota’s demonstration  Master Isokazu Kubota demonstrated his bat                                                    making on April 2 and 3, two times each day                                                   (11:00~12:00, 14:00~15:00) at the
                                                      Baseball Hall of Fame. His talk on how he made                                                   bats for Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, and                                                               Hiromitsu Ochiai was a revelation to many
                                                      visitors.
                              
     B.      Sustaining members for 2011 Invited

Since its inauguration 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.

p.3  Inductees Remembered (31)    
              Koshien for three generations
                Tetsuya Fujimura, eldest son of Fumio Fujimura, 1974 Hall of Famer

I was born in 1947, and naturally I do not remember my father, the first Mr. Tigers, playing in uniform, swinging his famous monohoshi-zao (laundry pole) bat in his heyday. I knew him only through newspapers, magazines, and many reporters fondly told me about my father. I remember him at a game celebrating his retirement in 1958. Later, when I was a new employee, one of my senior employees treated me to a cup of coffee on recollecting my father. ‘On my way back from the Japanese abacus school, I joined the queue to get his signature. I was jostled by excited fans and dropped my abacus. I was picking up its fallen balls crying, when he came up and gave me an autographed envelope. It was written inside, “Buy a new one with this.” How overjoyed I was at that time! This is a small token of thanks to him.’

It was a daily habit for him to pray in front of home shrine. It was reported that when he hit a home run, he unconsciously had hit his head on the shrine shelf. He led the league in home runs (46) in 1949, the last year of the one-league days. One day when his home run product was decreasing, my mother (d. June 2006) reminded him the episode. He laughed it off, “Oh, no, it was unbelievable!.” He became conscious, however, and was seen relying on the magic formula, only it proved ineffective. He used to say that he played to let the fans enjoy watching baseball at the stadium. He was called a showman with exaggerated action, which can still be seen in photographs on magazines.

I began to play baseball in my junior high school days. I am well aware that I made best use of his words, “Take good care of your implement” when I later became an instructor in nonprofessional baseball. In my mother’s recollection, he used to scrape his bats, as many as five at times, with a piece of broken glass and practiced swinging. He caused the pine tree in the garden withered by swinging at it: he fastened futon round it and used it as a sandbag! It was too late when my mother noticed his folly.

Most people seemed to think that he did nothing but baseball, but he liked angling and used to take me and my brother Masami (d. October 2009) to Muko River. He worked a scull humming a tune, and encouraged us to compete by often asking how many catch we made. He was good at frying his catch and liked to offer his dish to his family, saying, “It is very delicious. Eat it while it is hot.” But it was the topic of our talk for a long time afterwards that he himself did not eat his catch.

He rarely read newspapers or watched TV later in life. But when he was asked for his signature by his friends, he was glad to let me prepare liquid ink from an ink stick, and wrote his signatures on cardboards and traditional Japanese papers, as he had done hundreds or thousands of times before. The last piece is treasured as an heirloom in the family. In fact, he was a man of versatility. He had his messages recorded and appeared in the movie, Eikou eno Michi (“The Road to Glory”) in 1950 (NB He also appeared in four other movies). In 1973, he acted as a boss Tora ( “Tiger”) in a popular TV Asahi serial, Hissatsu Shiokinin, “The Executioner.” I took him to the movie studio in Kyoto by car, with my wife and 4-year-old daughter in his lap. When my daughter saw him killed in the last episode on TV, she was so sorry that she could not stop crying. I had to call him up to convince her that her grandfather was actually alive.

It is more than family treasures that six members of my family for three generations appeared in Koshien Stadium which every young baseball player has longed to be. My younger brother Masami (Sanda Gakuin) and I (Ikuei HS) followed him in his steps and were succeeded by my two sons, Kazuhito and Ken (both Mie Kaisei HS).  Moreover, my nephew, Kohji, did it with his father as manager of the same team (Ikuei HS). My father did not live to see his grandsons play in Koshien, but happily my mother did. Kazuhito aptly said, “Dad, we believe we finally have shown devotion to our grandfather.” He felt he was called by his dead grandfather to come to Koshien Stadium. Last but not the least, I would like to express my sincere thanks to those people who had kindly supported my father in his long life.

p.4  Rara Avis (74)
      A Poster ~ promoting the 3rd Pro Baseball All-Star East-West Matches in 1939
                                                                            Miwako Atarashi, co-curator

The All-Star Game in Major League Baseball was first played in 1933. It was instigated by Arch Ward, a sports editor for the Chicago Tribune, who was reportedly moved by a letter from a boy who wished to see the direct confrontation of two big stars belonging to the two different leagues, Babe Ruth of New York Yankees (AL) and Carl Hubbell of New York Giants (NL).

In Japan, the current All-Star Series date back to the All-Star East-West Matches in the one-league days in 1937. The event was reportedly initiated at the insistence of Takeo Akuta, a sports editor of Osaka Asahi Shimbun, who was formerly a slugger at Waseda University and later managed the Kintetsu Buffaloes (1952~57) and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. The first game was played at Koshien Stadium on November 20 and Eiji Sawamura (Tokyo Giants, 1959 Hall of Famer) shut out the West. The 2nd and 3rd games were won by the West, Yukio Nishimura (Hanshin Tigers, 1977 Hall of Famer) going the whole distance in the both games.

The poster in photo left is from the 3rd All-Star East-West Matches in 1939, and the original is a large one: 93.5cm by 63.5cm. On the margin below is the participants’ register of the East (Giants, Senators, Eagles, Kinko and Nagoya) and the West (Tigers, Hankyu, Nankai, and Lion). Captain Hisanori Karita (Senators) managed the East on behalf of the absentee Sadayoshi Fujimoto. In the rubber game (final 5th game), the East defeated the West 2-1, being the first victory in three years. 

In the 2nd game on November 25, Michio Shigematsu (Hankyu) pitched a no-hit, no-run game against the East, giving only a single BB to Shigeru Chiba (Giants, 1980 Hall of Famer) after two outs in the 7th inning. Chiba tells an amusing episode about the critical ball, low outside on 3-2, in his book published in 1984, Puro Yakyu Ninbetsucho, (“Who’s Who in Pro Baseball”). They argued for long afterwards about the decision every time they met. They both come from the same Ehime Prefecture and the submarine pitcher Shigematsu was three years senior to the second baseman Chiba! Incidentally, in the days of the All-Star East-West matches, pitchers were allowed to pitch the whole innings, but no pitcher had notched a perfect game. Shigematsu being the only no-hit, no-run pitcher.

In 1941, the Nippon Baseball League (now NPB) took the helm of the All-Star Matches and continued them until 1944. Only three months after the end of WWII, pro baseball resumed to be played with 4 games of the All-Star Matches held at Jingu, Kiryu and Nishinomiya stadiums. In 1950, the current two-league system started, but instead of the interleague All-Star Matches, both the Central and Pacific Leagues held their own East-West Matches. It was then in 1951 that the current All-Star Series started, so this year will see the 61st interleague Series. It is remarkable indeed that “All-Star Series”, with all its changes in contents, have continued consecutively for 75 years as of 2011.

p.5  Column: Much to See, Much to Enjoy (38)
         On Sportsman Hotel
                            Tadako Miyasaka, eldest daughter of Eiichi Tao, Collctor and
                              researcher of sports history

Sportsman Hotel was run by Eiichi Tao, my father, who was famous for his research in the history of sports and for his collection. It used to be in Koshien, but it was confiscated by the Occupation Army after WWII and his vast collections were moved to the new one at Daihoji near Daimaru Department along Shinsaibashi in Osaka. He was so absorbed in his research and collection that, when Kansai district was had air raid during the last war, he took refuge with nothing but his collection on handcart, so the hotel was wholly run by my mother Fujie.

He had a wide range of acquaintance in sports world and the hotel proved to be a convenient place where his friends came together. He spent his whole life in research and collection, but his vast collections have been donated to other institutions. I remember he once showed me joyfully what-he-called the oldest glove in Japan.  When I visited the Baseball Museum the other day, I was shown an old book Yakyu, written by Kanae Chuma, 1970 Hall of Famer, who translated “baseball” to “yakyu” for the first time in Japan. The book was one of the items he had donated (Tao Collection) in support of the founding of the first baseball museum in Japan in 1959. Tao Library is housed in Ashiya Municipal Library and those items related to the Olympics have found their appropriate place in Prince Chichibu Memorial Sports Museum in Tokyo.

Many people in sports world put up at Sportsman Hotel. The Mainichi Orions and the Yomiuri Giants used it as their regular hotel in Osaka. As pro baseball players were often on tour away from their family, they treated me like their own child. Some of them gave me a present, and others casually came into children’s room and helped me with my study. They were always serene and well-mannered. It was impressive to see them relaxed in the lobby and it was always me who was scolded by my mother for making noise. She was always careful about the food she served them and tried to meet the tastes of each player. She took a special care to pitchers who were allotted a single room. “Don’t enter their room,” she often told me. Later when I attended a Rotary Club meeting with my husband, Shigeru Sugishita (1985 Hall of Famer) recognized me as the daughter at former Sportsman Hotel and accosted to me.  “When I was an active pitcher, I did not dare to carry a baggage whenever I went shopping. It was always my wife who did it. Though it may sound selfish, pitchers would take care not to injure their arms.”  That’s why, I recollected, my mother took a special care to pitchers at Sportsman Hotel.

Sportsman Hotel was a two-storied wooden, rectangular building. There was double doors at the entrance and a sea lion was adorned on the roof gable. In the lobby, posters for many sports events were tacked on board screens. Down in the lobby, there was a counter (leading to the kitchen), where baseball players ordered their menu, which was their privilege which was not enjoyed by other guests. Both my father and mother were attentive to their health and took special care to their food. The bathroom, the rooms for my family and employees were in the interior of the deep first floor. Up on the second floor from the lobby side, there was a large hall and across the hallway were guest rooms.

When the Mainichi Orions won the pennant in the first year of the Pacific League in 1950, their fans gathered in front of Sportsman Hotel and sang the team’s song, “Orions, Orions, flowers shining up in the eastern sky.” Now I feel proud and a little abashed when I recollect that, child as I was, I talked casually with, and was treated kindly by such great players as will remain long in the history of baseball.

p.6  Library Note
              On scrapbooks        Taku Chinone, co-librarian

Let me introduce three kinds of scrapbooks in our baseball library. They are valuable in that they are not available through search site on our home page nor on material search system in the baseball library.

   1. Scrapbooks donated by Ryuji Suzuki (1982 Hall of Famer),
       covering 1936 through 1941.

Valuable to search the early days of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. Suzuki first committed himself to NPB in 1936 and was president of the Central League for a long time (1952-84). But these scrapbooks were reportedly prepared by Atsushi Kohno (1960 Hall of Famer), who was manager and representative of Nagoya for a time in the period covered by these scrapbooks. He had pitched for Waseda Nine  and one of the members to organize Japan’s first professional team (Nippon Undo Kyokai) in 1920.

  2. Scrapbooks prepared by Hideo Aoyagi, covering 1950 through 1993

Most convenient sources of information and “first aid” for us librarians and curators. Aoyagi was a former sports writer for Kyodo Press. Though the names of the newspapers cited are unknown (they are clipped off), scraps are classified into results of the game (entitled Pennant race”) and events (entitled “Pro baseball diary”). It is worth noting that, common to all scrapbooks prepared by reporters, their scraps in there are all but necessary.

   3.Scrapbooks of our own making, covering 1978 through 1998

News clippings on Professional baseball, High school baseball, University baseball, shakaijin (Industrial) baseball, MLB, Korean baseball, Taiwanese baseball are stuck on three kinds of scrapbooks (colored red, yellow, and blue). They are mainly from Nikkan Sports and Sports Nippon, covering all news items, major or minor, on baseball. Sometimes same news can be compared in different newspapers.

   NB  All news items from 1936 to the present, excepting January to March in 1947, are          available at our Baseball Library through the above scrapbooks (1~3) and Hochi          Shimbun preserved in the original edition.

 p.7  News from the Baseball Museum

   1 ) Obituary
                Wally Yonamine, 1994 Hall of Famer, passed away on February 28, 2011.

   2) New President
                Shinichi Hirose took office as new president of the Baseball Hall of Fame and
                Museum on February 1, 2011. He was born in Tokyo on June 20, 1955.
                After graduating from the Department of Economics, Sophia University,
                he joined Korakuen Stadium(now Tokyo Dome) in 1980. He was
                consecutively director of publicity (1999), chief of thegeneral affairs(2005),
                and vice-general manager of Tokyo Dome Hotel(2009).

   3)  On Sale
    a)   NPB’s Standardized Official Ball       2,500 yen including tax
               ~ With a seal of approval and serial number (on the top) and autographed by
                   Commissioner Ryozo Kato (on the middle)~
                        The new Mizuno-manufactured balls are the only ones to be used on a                         regular basis by all of NPB’s 12 teams in the 2011 season.
                        The ball is also available by mail. Mail charge is 250 yen per ball, 400 yen
                        for 2 or 3 balls, free for more than 3 ball. Please make a request by                         registered mail.

   b)  Quo cards featuring Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh   1,000 yean each
                                                                    (Worth 500 yen)
                   Telephone card featuring Japan-U.S. competition is still available   
                                                               1,000 yen including tax

   c)  Key holder with a BHFM logo  500 yen including tax
                Material    cow hide
                                Size        105mm x 40mm
                                Color       green
                                Coating    golden          

  d)  BHFM’s commemorative pin    500 yen including tax
                                              Material     Copper
                                              Size        31.5mm x 24mm
                                              Thickness    1.4mm
                                              Rear logo    THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
                                                               AND MUSEUM Since 1959
                                                               KORAKU, BUNKYO-KU, TOKYO
                                                                http://www.baseball-museum.or.jp

  e) Official Baseball Guide 2011     2,900 yen including tax
                  Edited by Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).
           Published annually since 1963. It contains all the records from 2010 regular season            pennant races, the All-Star Series, and the Japan Series. Also available are all-time            records since 1936.

   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)
                (Hours are liable to be shortened due to power shortage. Visitors are requested
                to enter at least 30 minutes prior to the closing time.)
          Admission: 500yen (300yen)    Adults
                           200yen (150yen)   Elementary & 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 May to July, the museum will be closed on:
                             May 9, 16 and 30; June 13, 20 and 27; July 4 and 11.

Editor’s Note   
           Due to the big earthquake along the coast of Tohoku district, many sports
           events were cancelled or postponed. NPB was originally scheduled to start its
            2011 season on March 25, but its opening games were postponed until April 12.            There have appeared a lot of rookies worth talking about, so we are looking                      forward to watching their games both at stadiums and on TV.

P. 8  Essay (44)   Teaching new reporters fundamentals in baseball
                                          Naoki Chiba, director of the Players Selection Committee
                                          Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo

The 2011 pennant races of NPB had been postponed for two weeks due to the big earthquake in Tohoku district, but finally they began on April 12 and stadiums have come to life again with shouts of baseball fans. With many difficulties to solve, NPB will get tested for its fortitude to get through the whole season. Spring is also a company entrance season and many incoming employees have come to our newspaper in a bustle for reporting news on earthquake and tsunami disasters. Senior reporters in charge of baseball in the sports section are asked to make a lecture to them on how to keep a scorebook. After receiving an orientation, newcomers are assigned to local branch offices and cover the local preliminary tournament of the National High School Baseball Championship. In most cases, the reporter has to do everything by himself ~ interviewing at stadiums, writing articles for the local newspaper and taking photographs. It is prerequisite for him to be able to keep his scorebook.

Last year I began my lecture by asking some 50 newcomers if they could keep a scorebook with confidence. I was not surprised when only three of them raised their hand. I was shocked to know, however, that they had only vague knowledge on baseball, to be exact, fundamental baseball terms like run, RBI, force-out, furinige (be struck out but make first base),or infield fly. The number of applicants to sports section has increased since soccer came to be recognized as a major sport in Japan. Many of them are supposedly avid sports fans, but their knowledge is surprisingly poor. My 2-hour lesson with a DVD showing a high school baseball game has failed to impart all of information I wanted to tell them.

Lack of knowledge of and interest in baseball result from diversification of popular amusements and decrease of people who watch baseball, which has probably been caused by decreasing live TV broadcast. Radio broadcast will stimulate listeners’ imagination, but I wonder how many of young generations who are accustomed to iPod and iPhone take time to listen to it. I must admit that it is only middle-aged people like myself who are listening to their portable radio on the train. About more than 20 years ago, my boss at the local branch office often told the newcomer, “When I attended elementary and junior high school in the country, I kept a scorebook while listening to the radio!” I am sorry to say there may be none like him nowadays.

I am well aware it is like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs for fellow reporters, but let me cite a calculation formula: AB + SH (SF) + BB and HPB + bases on catcher’s interference = outs + runs + LOB. In covering a baseball game, it is an important formula to verify the box score to prevent errors in figures. I remember repeating calculation to a deadline at the office back from the stadium. Ignorance of this formula will not prove any hindrance in work now that records are automatically available via wire service now, but it still remains a good material for teaching newcomers the fundamentals of baseball rules. When I was asked to make a lecture, I found myself unable to recite it with ease and had to learn it by heart again. I had to caution myself that I was not knowledgeable enough yet.

As in past years, this year’s newcomers have been sent to their local branch offices after taking a lesson in scorebook keeping in Tokyo. Reporters assigned to Tohoku district where there are still scars left from the big earthquakes and tsunami will be terribly busy in the coming summer, covering suffered people who are strenuously making effort to recover from the disaster, or keeping his scorebook watching high school baseball games at the local preliminary tournament for the NHSBT.

 

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