The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum


HOME  >>  Topics  >>  Newsletter

 





 
Click the number for further details.

Articles in NEWSLETTER, Vol.21, No.3

                                                                                    (Translated by Ryuichi Suzuki)

p.1  Glove making by parent-child pairs and Bat making demonstration
      ~Report on Summer Events, Part 1~                         Shinichi Hirose, President

As it was in past years, we held three summer events, two of which were glove making by parent-child pairs on Thursday, August 18, and bat making demonstrations on Friday, August 19, and Saturday, August  20.

Twelve pairs of parents and their children were selected by lottery from among many applicants and they worked, under the guidance of the stuff from Mizuno Corporation, about three hours in the last process of making a glove for use in rubber baseball. What they did was a fairly difficult task of piercing threads into the glove, which gave the participants a great satisfaction. Compared with making a regular baseball which had been done for the past two years, making a usable glove proved more popular with the participants. Some of them took a note, probably for their independent study, and took a photo of their product.

The bat making demonstration was done by Master Isokazu Kubota, who was recognized as one of the master-hands by the Ministry of Welfare and Labor in 2003 and was awarded a Yellow Ribbon Medal in 2005. It was his second appearance at the Baseball Museum, the first being in April this year. He is famous for making bats for Ichiro and Hideki Matsui. He is now 68 years old, but takes a special care to keep his health by getting up at 5:30 every morning and doing stretching his muscles at abdomen and back 200 times each, and taking a walk with his dog in the nearby hill every day. The demonstration was held three times on both days, and there were many visitors-turned spectators in front of him on benches, surrounded by standing people.The first day was particularly busy, for there was an unexpected shooting by TV squad. Though he had no experience of hitting a regular baseball, he was versed in batting through his acquaintance with super stars of pro baseball by making their bats. His talks on materials on bats ~ aodamo, maple and white ashes ~ were interesting indeed. He was adept in making his answers to the questions understandable by elementary and junior high school students. When the demonstration was over, the participants enjoyed touching the bats made for Ichiro and Matsui, and had their photos taken with the Master in a pleasant atmosphere.

We are glad that the events for three days were quite successful and we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Mizuno Corporation for their kind cooperation with us.
                                   
p.2   A     Independent study on baseball ~ Report on Summer Events, Part 2 ~
      
From Tuesday, July 21 to Sunday, September 4, another annual event, “Independent study on baseball!” was held at the baseball library and the event hall. There was more than 3,400 visitors there, and 341 (an increase of 43 over the last year) elementary and junior high school students did their independent study on baseball. The increase was marked in 4th to 6th graders. There were over 80 of them each and the total number of 4th to 6th graders were 262, or 77 % of the whole students.

Their subjects of study were history of baseball (126), baseball implements (135、60% of them taking up standardized baseballs), each of them occupying more than 30 % of the whole subjects, and others (stadiums, breaking balls, etc.)

On Friday, August 26 and the following day, at 14:00 and 15:00 respectively, a mini-mini experiment corner was opened to the visitors. The topics were “Mechanism of breaking baseballs,” “Standardized official baseballs” and “Let’s weigh Ichiro’s bat.”

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 Members

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 (33)        A memory of my late father

                        Yoshiko Togawa, eldest daughter of Katsuo Tanaka, 1985 Hall of Famer

My father was born and raised in Osaka, but moved to Ashiya when he got married. He was blessed with  two daughters, me and my younger sister. He never got angry with us for whatever we did, so naturally we loved him more than my mother who was strict with us in our behaviour. He was indeed a fond father. For a non-drinker and non-smoker that he was, it was most pleasant to dine and talk with his wife and daughters, which is proved, I think, by the fact that he took so many family photos. He developed and printed them by himself in the mud-walled warehouse which he used as a darkroom. It was fun for us young girls to stand by him watching to see what images would come out of the water.

I remember him singing in a beautiful voice. His repertoire included Stephen Foster’s song in English, his school song & rooters’ songs (i.e., Waseda University), and psalms. Sometimes he sang to a popular disc recorded by a tenor singer Yoshie Fujiwara. Once a week he had a Noh master come to our house and took a private lesson in its classical songs and dancing, wearing hakama (long pleated culotte-like Japanese trousers). How splendid he was! At times he blew shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) to the accompaniment of tsuzumi (hand drum) tapped by my mother.

I vaguely surmised that he had played baseball in his school days in that a heavy bat and a baseball were on display at his room, but he never told me about it. One day Suishu Tobita (1960 Hall of Famer) came to see him and gave us a book he wrote. For the first time the book revealed that my father had been a famous student baseball player. Soon after that he was asked to manage Waseda Nine, and we moved up to Tokyo (in 1937). It was the heyday of the Tokyo Big6 University League and we were quite astonished at the gorgeousness of the rooting battle between the cheering parties of Waseda and Keio Universities. Some ardent fans of Waseda Nine visited us in person not only to encourage us but ask him to mediate in getting acquainted with players—quite an interesting and incomprehensible behaviour for me who had just entered a girls’ high school. He led Waseda Nine to two victories in his three years of tenure as manager, which brought our family a happy and enjoyable life in Tokyo. He had no intention to extend his managership and returned to Ashiya (in 1940) after achieving a satisfactory result in such short years.

During the World War II, he was deeply sorry and grateful for his former players who lost his life or had hazardous life at the front. Back at home, he took the initiative in digging an air-raid shelter and turning the garden to a plot for vegetables. In an air-raid, the roof of our house was blown away by a bomb dropped nearby, and we had to live in a roofless house because he could not afford to repair it. He looked a pathetic sight even to a young daughter, for he was stricken by a grief at his inability to do what the head of a family was expected to bring happiness to his family.

I got married soon after the war. When his grandchildren were born, he treated them with tender loving care. It gave him much delight when my daughter entered Waseda University. His house barely survived the big Hanshin-Awaji earthquake in 1995 (due mainly to its rebuilding a few years before), but the infrastructure was so poor that my sister and her husband, who had long looked after him, evacuated him to a hotel in Osaka. He got out of condition, however, and died in a hospital there at the age of 96. Though he used to say, “I will live to be 100 and look forward to attending a wedding ceremony of great-grandchildren,” he was not able to survive the natural disaster. Fortunately, however, with his dream in him, he did not become senile until the end of his life and departed calmly to the other world. 

p.4  Rara avis (76)  The 4th IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cup Trophy

                                                     Miwako Atarashi, Co-curator

The trophy prominently displayed at the Women’s Baseball Corner is the Championship Trophy won by Japanese National Team in August, 2010 at the 4th Women’s World Cup held in Venezuela with 11 participating countries. The grand trophy is 110 cm in height and reportedly had to be broken into two parts to bring into Japan as carry-on luggage. Japan won all the games in the 1st round-robin tournament in Pool B (5 countries), and went on to the 2nd round and played against the top three from Pool A (6 countries).Though lost to Australia, Japan defeated Cuba and Canada, and proceeded to the semi-finals and defeated the USA. In the final game, Japan defeated Australia 13-5 (called after the 5th innings), with 18-year-old Ayako Rokkaku winning the MVP. It was Japan’s 2nd consecutive victory succeeding to their first title in the 3rd  IWBWC held in Matsuyama in 2008.

It was a stormy and hazardous tournament, for Hong Kong team withdrew from the tournament when a bullet hit one of their players in the foot (according to the official announcement, it was a stray bullet accidentally shot from the adjacent military installation) in a game with Netherlands in the first round. For a time there was great fear for a continuation of the tournament. As the tournament was held in Venezuela on the opposite side of the earth from Japan, comparatively little report was made on it so that there might be many who
were not aware of the great feat. But the primary members of Japanese National Team have already been nominated and they are striving to achieve the third consecutive victory in the coming 5th IWBWC which is scheduled to be held in Canada in 2012. We are strongly in support of them through exhibits on them.

The first IWBWC was held in Edmonton, Canada in 2004, and the USA was the first winner and Japan was the runner-up. Incidentally Japan was represented by All-Japan High School Team, because the National Team was to participate in the 4th Women’s Baseball World Series held by WIBA in Uozu, Japan.

Other exhibits at Women’s Baseball Corner are a glove and a mitt used by Kosaka (nee Kato) Mineko, who    played in the women’s pro league which was existent soon after WWII, uniforms worn by Hyogo Swing Smileys and Kyoto Asto Dreams (both being pro teams formed in 2010), and other items related to women’s baseball in general. A special exhibit is a uniform autographed by pitcher Eri Yoshida, who joined the Maui Ikaika of independent North American League in the USA and notched the first win as a Japanese pro player in August in 2011. We are looking forward to further success of women’s baseball and consequent richer exhibits at our Women’s Baseball Corner.

  p.5   Column: Many to See, Much to Enjoy  (40)
                
            Annotated Bibliography of Books on Sports in General ~30 years in retrospect

                                       Hideaki Kinoshita, The editor and author

I have been frequenting the baseball library at the Baseball Museum after an absence of more than 40 years. At the request of writing an essay, I was reminded that exactly 30 years has passed since my lifework was published in 1981. When I opened the book at hand, I found names of books unknown at the time of its publication written in and “proofreading cannot be too careful” jotted down on several pages in red ink. In the postscript, I had dwelled on how I overcame the difficulties I encountered when I was editing the book. Let me write here again my recollection of my experience.

Bibliography of Books on Sports (Iwasaburo Noguchi) was published on April 25, 1953. The date was memorable for me, because I sat for the belated entrance examination of graduate school of Tokyo University soon after that. (The national budget was late in passing, which delayed the start of newly established institution.) This book was very useful for my research of materials to investigate the history of modern sports in Japan. It contained many books which were not kept even at the prestigious Ueno Library (now the branch of the National Diet Library). Incidentally guide books of sports in early days were so small and thin  that they could be easily carried with athletes and were usable at playing grounds and gymnasiums. For my purposes, however, they proved so inconvenient that in about 1970 I had to get several volumes of them bound in one volume so that classifying labels could be attached on their spine.
 
In searching for rare books, I got acquainted with two precursors in Kenzo Hirose, later the first director of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum which was opened to the public in 1959, and in Eiichi Tao, famous for his collection of books and articles on sports. One of the clues to the study of the history of sports which evolved as club activity at schools are school histories published by many school across the country. Hirose kept a vast library of books on not only baseball but school history, which are now housed in the baseball library at the BHFM. I owed to it much when I arranged an exhibition on the history of Japanese sports in 1964 in celebration of the Olympic Games held in Tokyo. In 1968 and later on, when Junji Ohno succeeded him as director, I literally exhausted every book in his library in preparing to edit a sports bibliography. The Baseball Museum then was a detached building next to Korakuen Stadium and it may safely be said that it was the day when users are wanted at its baseball library. As for Tao in Osaka, I visited Ashiya Library almost every summer from 1955 and availed myself of Tao Library there. Later he kindly collected many materials on my request and showed me the knack of finding rare books.

Bibliography of Books on Sports contained many misprints in the books cited in the headings of physical education and gymnastics and many books had been left unlisted. Noguchi himself was aware of it and I was asked to revise and enlarge the book. When An 80 Years of History of Japan University of Physical Education, a by-product of my research, was published in March, 1974, I visited his house to present it to him, but I was shocked to know that he had died a month before.

In preparing my book, I used special blanks instead of ordinary A5-sized cards, and had graduate students who were qualified as librarian with sure handwriting jot down the title and other data of one book on one blank. I checked it referring to the original book and marked * at the head of the book just checked. Then I arranged the checked blanks in a Japanese alphabetical order under one heading per arranging, which naturally increased times of arranging blanks, but it helped to lessen mistakes and if there was any, it helped me find them easily. The present personal computer will do an instant work of it, but if there is mistakes in data entry, is it possible to start from the scratch?  Tokyo Olympics in 1964 created a sports books boom, and I had to put an end to inclusion by the books published by the end of 1965.

In my own estimate, the good point of my Annotated Bibliography of Books on Sports is a list of classified headings on facing two pages, in which further references are given abundantly, like “Refer also to so-and- so.”  By this device, I am sure that even a reader who does not have an exact title of an unknown book can find an easy access to it. Nowadays OPAC is available, and by inputting a keyword, wanted books may be obtained at a glance. But adequate keywords cannot always be found. Personal computers and human beings 
have their own strong and weak points. It is my fond memory that I flipped through pages of library catalogue. Another good point of my book is that basing on my own experience, the library is mentioned where a particular book is available. A computer can give an easy access to it now, of course.

From last April, I have been spending a retired life and writing A History of Gymnastics in Modern Japan, which I hope will make a sequel to my A History of Sports in Modern Japan published in 1970. When I fill in the application form at the baseball library, I have to choose either “study” or “hobby.” Which do I choose?  It all depends.

p.6  Library News       Bulletins of Nippon Professional Baseball League   
                                                       Taku Chinone, Co-librarian

Let me introduce Bulletin of Nippon Professional Baseball League, which were published by NPBL in prewar days. NPBL was set up on February 5, 1936 when its inaugural general meeting was held at Industry Club of Japan at Marunouchi in Tokyo. The first issue of its PR magazine, Bulletin of Nippon Professional Baseball League (8 pages, 26 cm x 19 cm)was published on April 25, 1936. The headline says, “Nippon Professional Baseball League Inaugurates, Glorying in the rising Japanese sports world,” and the following article says, “It goes without saying that the long-cherished desire of the seven professional baseball teams is to contend and win the championship in the World Series between the United States, the champion of baseball, but at the same time, it is important to establish an all-Japan professional baseball league and, with a spirit of fair play and sportsmanship, for each team to make efforts to become strong enough to achieve this ambitious ideal.” Thus it is obvious that NPBL was very enthusiastic from the very beginning about their ideal. This motto is also expressed by the following manifesto of NPBL.

  1. We NPBL will exert baseball spirit in full and thus will help promote a sound spirit of the nation.
  2. We NPBL will strictly observe the spirit of fair play and play model baseball games.
  3. We NPBL will strive to make a sound and rapid development of Japanese baseball and thus to win the world championship.

The first bulletin also covers preceding conferences, an outline of the discussions in the inaugural general meeting, the reception party, organization and officials of NPBL and its constituent teams, and the schedule of the pennant race to be held at Koshien Stadium from April 29. At first it was distributed to the seven teams, newspapers, the people concerned, and paid subscribers. With a strong request made by fans to improve the getup, the title was changed to NPBL News from the 8th issue, and was enlarged to a 30 cm x 22 cm size from the 9th issue and more coverage was made on photos, details of the games, and players.

The last issue of NPBL News was its No.43 published on September 25, 1939, but it was succeeded by Yakyukai (Baseball World) in December issue (Vol.29, No.18) in 1939 as one of its articles entitled,”NPBL Bulletin and its Office Report.” However, according to Yakyukai available at our baseball library, it ceased to be published after November issue in 1943. The last title was “The League Report.”

Bulletins of Nippon Professional Baseball League are valuable source of information on early days of the NPBL. Take note that those available at our baseball library are photocopied edition of the originals. The first issue of BNBLT are, however, available through our Website. Please come and visit “Library” and surf “Digital Archives.”

p.7   A    Topics from Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum 
                      (August, 2011 through October, 2011)
      
           Artifacts on loan  
                      a) July 9 ~ September 4
                          Uniforms of the Nishitetsu Lions worn by Osamu Mihara,
                          Hiroshi Oshita, and Kazuhisa Inao
                           September 16 ~ October 18
                           Uniform of Nishitetsu Lions worn by Futoshi Nakanishi,
                           Uniform of Taiheiyo Club worn by Masahiro Doi
                           Lions Classic 2011 held at Saitama Seibu Stadium

                           b) October 8 ~ 16
                              Bat used by Tsuyoshi Shinjo, and 5 other items
                              Fighters History Museum at Sapporo Dome

                          c) March 18 ~ October 23
                               Bat used by Kazuo Kitoh
                               Glove used by Isamu Fukushi
                               Masaru Kageura’s commemorative bat when he became a home-run
                              king in the fall season of 1937
                              Memorial of the Manchuria League in 1940
                              15 other items
                              “Sports and Yasukuni Shrine” held at Yushukan in Yasukuni Shrine

                        d) September 23 ~ December 11
                           Uniform worn by Sen-ichi Hoshino, the present manager of the Tohoku
                           Rakuten Eagles, when he led Team Japan in the 2008 Peiking
                           Olympics 
                           Bat used by Katsuya Nomura, manager emeritus of the TRE, when he
                           was an active player
                           Spikes worn by Masahiro Tanaka, the TRE
                           “Viva! Children! Lively Ever!” at Tohoku History Museum in Tagajo,
                             Miyagi Prefecture

    B) News from the Baseball Museum

  1. Change in officials  New Director    Tsunekazu Momoi,
                                                                  Owner of the Yomiuri Giants
                                     Auditor     Hiroshi Kubo, Director of Yomiuri Shimbun
                                     Councilor   Koichiro Takada, Director of Fukuoka SoftBank
                                                      Atsushi Harasawa, Director of the Yomiuri Giants
                      Retiring Director  Takuo Takihana
                                   Auditor   Shunsuke Kanda
                                   Councilor Naoyuki Murakami
                                                  Hidetoshi Kiyotake
  2. 2. On sale   Authentic standardized official ball with a serial number
                                     2,500yen
             Mailing charge 250yen per ball
                                    400yen per 2 or 3 balls
                                    Free of charge for more than 3 balls

    3. Obituary    Ichiro Yoshikuni, 1999 Hall of Famer and former Commissioner of                      Baseball, passed away on September 2, 2011 at the age of 95.

    4. Guide to the Baseball Museum

                The entrance is 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 *)  Elementary and junior high school students
                                                 (* Per person in a group of 20 or more)
                                                  300yen     Senior citizens (aged 65 or more)

   Closed: Mondays except those 1) during the spring and summer school vacations
                            2) that fall on National Holidays
                            3) when a pro baseball game is played at Tokyo Dome
          and the New Year holidays (December 29 through January 1)
          In other words, from November to January, the museum will be closed on:
          November 7, 14, 21, and 28; December 5, 12, 19, 26, and 29~31;
          January 1, 16, 23 and 30

p.8 Essay (46)    Hidden feeling in a casual expression, “ Must be doing well.”
                                       Shun-ichiro Kato, Sankei Sports 
                                       Member of the Players Selection Committee

Together with the word Dan, Nau was in vogue on twitter (social network service on the Internet) last year. Nau means now, and Dan means done. Both of them have been contrived to express the present time and completion of action in lesser words in the limitation rule of 140 words at one contribution. For example, “Baseball museum nau” (“I am at Baseball museum now” ), “Tour dan” (I have done a tour.”

Living in a dizzying changes of life, we are reminded that we often live only by nau and dan. Usually we make it a rule to find in our experience a foothold toward the future, but life by nau and dan gives an impression that life and business are self-complete, so to speak, spent and done by the present ourselves irrelevant of the future. Even the impact of the Great East Disaster is being absorbed in dan by people who were not affected directly. If there is only the present time which is over every moment, men will never learn anything. Isn’t there room left to connect experience to history?

Happily, in covering baseball, I have found many suggestions and lessons not only in my experience but in history. Let me tell an episode in which I felt strongly the connection between the present and the past. Mutsuo Minagawa, the last 30-victory winner in a season, was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. In the press conference in January, Katsuya Nomura, his batterymate with Nakai Hawks, made a congratulatory speech for him. Incidentally as Nomura works now as commentator for Sankei Sports, I took a small part in recommending him as a guest speaker for the late Minagawa. “I talked with him every night on how to hold left-handed batters, and came up with a small slider into the inside. We often talk about the cut ball now, but its originator is no other than Minagawa,” he said almost in tears” At the annual press conference in the beginning of the New Year, many interesting episodes about the Hall of Famers have been told. How I wish that the present baseball players, who are apt to be self-complete with nau and dan and ignorant of accumulated history, would be more conscious of the connection between the past and the present.

A special exhibition, “Sports and Yasukuni Shirine” has been held at the Yushukan (in the precincts of Yasukuni Shrine) from March this year. Among the exhibits, there are many artifacts sent by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. This year is the 70th anniversary of the start of the Pacific War, in which many athletes were killed, baseball players being no exception. On display at the exhibition is a picture postcard sent from the front from Masaki Yoshihara, a catcher with Tokyo Giants who was killed in Myanmar. A tanabata festival with colored strips of paper (with “Shoot’em and die” written on them) on sticks of bamboo, and self-portrait of himself bathing serenely in a drum can are depicted in it. Other jottings are, “Don’t lose,” “Sta-chan” and “Ei-chan,” (probably short for Victor Starffin and Eiji Sawamura, his batterymates with the Giants.) To think of his nostalgia for his old team …..! “Must be doing well” are closing up space between the lines. Oozing in it are sentiments for fellow players in the front and those active back in Japan, who, he might have hoped, would be trying their best to lead their own precarious life. I cannot but marvel at his bright and thoughtful feeling to write such message in such a small (14 cm x 10 cm) postcard.

  Yoshihara had such a short pro baseball career as 4 years. He was enlisted in 1942 and killed in October, 1944 at the age of 25. Incidentally 24-year-old Ginjiro (Saitama Seibu Lions) is the youngest regular catcher in the present pro baseball and Yoshihara’s uniform number, 27, had been used by Masahiko Mori (Yomiuri Giants), Tsutomu Ito (Seibu Lions), Atsuya Furuta (Yakult Swallows), and Motonobu Tanishige (Yokohama BayStars). I am firmly determined that we ought not to be confined in the world of nau and dan and that we have to hand down to the next generation the brightness, prayer, and future which are hidden in “Must be doing well.”

 

Contact us

Copyright (C) THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM All rights reserved.