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Thursday, February 27, 2014

U.S. Baseball All-Stars Tour Japan In 1934

For ANYONE out there who is a baseball fan and a especially a baseball fan of historical quirky and interesting facts and stories, let me recommend this blog: https://miscbaseball.wordpress.com/

I could spend hours and hours rummaging through it. And I did.

So… let me just say… that I have taken two articles from that site that describe the 1934 visit by a team of baseball all-stars from the various American teams to play in Japan - mostly against a roving band of Japanese all-stars - other times against various armed forces personnel (like in Hawaii).

The photos, however, are not from that blog.

I still say you should go and check it out… and in fact, I'm going to link to each article HERE and HERE… but because I also know that many of you readers dislike having to bounce around to other sites less cookies or spyware bag you - I'm pretty sure neither are part of the equation at Misc. Baseball

The real reason I'm not re-writing these articles in my own words is that there's nothing too re-write. The articles are perfect and perfectly enjoyable.

Again… go and check out https://miscbaseball.wordpress.com/ yourself.

That's one hot-looking Japanese woman Babe Ruth is shaking hands with.
You should read THIS article that I prepared that shows the problems that arose for the organizer of the American baseball all-star team in Japan - let's just say it involves a katana sword and nasty slash to someone's neck.

In the mean time, from that site, here here is an article published on February 8, 2011 entitled:

Babe Ruth’s Visit to Japan in 1934
Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and Connie Mack headlined the roster of 15 stars who visited Japan in November 1934 to display their baseball skills. They, and Ruth especially, apparently made a big impression, because Japanese troops famously yelled Ruth’s name in jest when they fought U.S. soldiers in World War II. Here, from the Japan Times, are some reports on how the U.S. and Japan teams fared in their much less consequential mid-Depression battles:

Friday, Nov. 2

The most formidable team of the world’s best baseball players to arrive in Japan disembarked from the palatial Canadian Pacific white-hulled liner, Empress of Japan, at Yokohama at 10 a.m. today for a series of games in the Empire, its first being against the Tokyo Club Sunday afternoon at the Meiji Shrine stadium.
Leading this aggregation of 15 aces of the American major leagues, including the one and only George Herman ( Babe) Ruth , the Sultan of Swat, and Don Gehrig of the New York Yankees, was no less a person than Mr. Cornelius McGillicuddy, better known as Connie Mack, manager of the Athletics who has been actively connected with baseball for 51 years.
The visitors were given a great welcome. No sooner had the yellow quarantine flag been lowered than Ruth and the other players were stormed with requests for autographs.
“How many home runs are you going to hit in Japan ,” Ruth was asked.
“I don’t know, but I am going to try to knock out as many as I can,” he said.
 

Monday, Nov. 5

Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx did not find the slow balls of three pitchers to their liking and failed to crash out homers, but the 56,000 or more baseball fans that packed the Meiji Shrine stadium Sunday sat back amazed all afternoon at the tremendous strength of Connie Mack’s American all-stars. The Tokyo Club nine, comprised of leading ex-university players, were slaughtered by 17 to 1.
With people standing in line for their tickets since Saturday night, every seat in the huge stadium was taken by noon Sunday, two hours before the game.
 

Saturday, Nov. 17
Babe Ruth has become quite the social lion of Tokyo. Together with other members of the American baseball team in Tokyo, he has been tea-ed, lunched, dined and danced, as never before.
It was a bright moment for several bellhops and girls of the Imperial Hotel when the baseball hero autographed his photograph for them the other day while having his shoes shined in its barber shop, and a Tokyo woman will always remember the time she had her hair bobbed — she sat in the next chair to the Babe.
 

Sunday, Nov. 18

The southpaw offerings of Lefty Hamazaki proved to be of no mystery to the portside sluggers of Connie Mack’s All-American professional baseball team and the latter routed the All- Japan nine by a 15 to 6 score Saturday afternoon at the Meiji Shrine stadium. It was the visitors’ final appearance in Tokyo (before they depart for matches in Omiya, Sendai, Nagoya and Osaka, then leave for Shanghai on Dec. 2).
Babe Ruth once again led the batting attack with two home runs. One of them came in the eighth inning with the bags loaded. He showed his aptitude to hit any kind of pitching by taking a healthy cut at Hamazaki’s slow teaser for a mighty drive into the right-field bleachers.
Wayne Graczyk, writer of the Times’ Baseball Bulletin, added that this “was the series when schoolboy phenom Eiji Sawamura struck out four big league superstars. Sawamura, after whom Japan’s version of the Cy Young Award was named, fanned Ruth, Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx and Charlie Gehringer in a game in Shizuoka.
“He lost 1-0 on a homer by Gehrig but went on to fame briefly with the Giants until his career was cut short when he was called into service prior to the start of the Second World War. He was subsequently killed in action.
“Sawamura’s performance on that November day helped persuade Shoriki to work toward forming Japan’s first pro team one month after that major league tour ended.
“That team is still known as the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants.”


Fully autographed photo of the 1934 US baseball all-stars and the Japanese all-stars. 
Next up is another cool article whereby Ruth in 1944 remembers his time 10 years earlier in Japan on the all-star baseball tour. 
Promo poster for the 1934 touring US all-star baseball event in Japan.
Keep in mind that the U.S., in 1944, is at war with Japan.  The story below was published in Misc. Baseball on July 14, 2009:

Babe Ruth on “the Japs” in World War II
On March 18, 1944, the New Yorker, after hearing that the Japanese troops were yelling “to hell with Babe Ruth” as an insult when fighting against the American troops, paid a visit to the Babe at his apartment on Riverside Drive in upper Manhattan. He remembered a postseason trip to Japan in 1934 and said: “Sort of thing you’d expect from the itty-bittys [referring to the insult]. I figured at the time that they were acting awful friendly. Why, we arrive at Yokohama and there’s one million of the little fellows lined up, bowing and cheering and carrying American flags in one hand and Jap flags in the other. We take the train to Tokio and there’s another million standing around near the station, all too damned polite. . . . They were lovely to us, just lovely.”
The Babe said this about their ability to learn baseball tips: “They listen a lot, and then put two and two together.” He said this about the ’34 tour:  “I knocked out thirteen home runs, but I never saw a Jap hit one over the fence. A bat is about as big as a Jap, and the fact is, the itty-bittys can’t hit.”
And this about the Japanese fans: “They’re wild men in the stands. . . . They don’t know the difference between good plays and bad ones, so they yell at everything.”
And this about playing before Japanese royalty: “Wasn’t a game we played, but some royal uncle or nephew wasn’t sitting out there under the canopy, so everybody lined up and saluted the duck, while a cannon went off and a siren blew to let the neighborhood know the game was starting. Hell of a way to play ball.”

Babe Ruth (the big white guy) posing with some Japanese kids from Hiroshima.Say what you will, Babe was a good sport putting up with the constant attention everywhere he went.  
That's all for now. What a great baseball blog: Misc. Baseball.

Babe Ruth certainly looks happy to be in Japan in 1934.
Cheers,
Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

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