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  • #46


    The three players depicted are (l to r) Yoshiyuki Iwamoto, Michio Nishizawa and Makoto Kozuru. All three are members of the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame. Iwamoto, an outfielder, played for the Hawks from 1940 to '42. He then decided to play industrial league ball, until he made a grand comeback in 1949 at the age of 37 with the Robins. In 1950, he hit .319 with 39 homers, 121 RBI and 34 stolen bases. In 1951, he improved to .351 while still slugging 31 homers. On 8/1/51 he hit four homers in one game. Nishizawa, a first baseman, made his pro debut at age 15! He started as a pitcher, but after his arm gave out, he converted to the infield. In his career he batted as high as .353, hitting as many as 46 homers. Kozuru's early career was interrupted with a stint in the Japanese navy. After he returned, his bat caught fire. In 1950, he hit .355 with 51 homers and 161 RBI and was selected MVP. He was the first Japanese to hit 50 homers, and his RBI total still stands as the single season record.
    Last edited by JACKIE42; 03-19-2005, 05:14 PM.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Indiana COBB
      Sad thing is Baseball would be banned in Japan by their government in the Mid 1930's the Japansese felt the game was Americanizing thier nation too much (and like opening their ports to Commadore Perry in 1853 wasn't Americanizing!) and with tensions between AMerica and Japan building up in the 1930's over Japans invasion of Manchuria, and America cutting off Japan's precious Steel imports, tenisons swelled until 1941 and Pearl Harbor, lost in the shuffle of history is the fact that baseall suffered to under Japans brutal Fascist Government.
      Very interesting, considering the fact that in the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo on April 18, 1942, some of the B-25s flew over a ballpark where a game was in progress. The fans in the park waved to the Americans, thinking that they were Japanese aircraft.

      The US embargo on oil to Japan was as important as the steel embargo.

      When I went to Kyoto while on R&R Leave from Korea, I watched a baseball game on television in the lounge of a hotel that catered to GIs. One afternoon, I watched what looked like a HS team practice at a public park. It was the first time that I had seen a composition-covered baseball. I wanted to take a few swings, but i thought that with my luck, I'd be busted by the MPs for being out of uniform.

      Bob
      Last edited by bluezebra; 03-19-2005, 09:18 PM.

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      • #48

        1958 depiction of Katsuya Nomura--the greatest catcher in the history of Japanese baseball. Holding the world record for most games played by a catcher with 2918 over his 27 year career, he also has hit more home runs than any catcher in history with 657 (a total that ranks second to Sadaharu Oh in Japan). Nomura once caught every single inning of a 150 game season, including 16 double headers.

        Nomura won nine home run championships (8 in a row), six consecutive RBI titles, and one batting average title. That came in 1965 when he won the triple crown with 42 homers, 110 RBIs, and a .320 batting average. He retired in 1980 and is a member of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame. Below is a more current photo:
        John

        Stan Musial Pages
        CultureDose Media Reviews

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        • #49
          historical accuracy

          Originally posted by Indiana COBB
          Sad thing is Baseball would be banned in Japan by their government in the Mid 1930's the Japansese felt the game was Americanizing thier nation too much (and like opening their ports to Commadore Perry in 1853 wasn't Americanizing!) and with tensions between AMerica and Japan building up in the 1930's over Japans invasion of Manchuria, and America cutting off Japan's precious Steel imports, tenisons swelled until 1941 and Pearl Harbor, lost in the shuffle of history is the fact that baseall suffered to under Japans brutal Fascist Government.
          With respect to baseball, there's a great deal of inaccuracy in this post. The current Japanese professional leagues began in 1936 and have played continuously except for the suspension of play in the final year of WWII, 1945. The way Japan was getting bombed then, in preparation for an anticipated invasion, it would have been absurd to play ball that year. The 1944 season was only about 30 games for much the same reason. Japanese baseball did suffer terribly due to the War, but not in the way the poster thinks. Many ballplayers served in the Japanese military, and several of their hall of famers died in such service. Many other players careers were delayed or interrupted by the war, and some older players didn't come back due to simple time away from the game.

          Jim Albright
          Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
          Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
          A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

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          • #50



            This is a much scarcer card than the often seen "Ted Williams back" menko. Moreover, unlike the other card, this one has his name printed in Japanese on the back. Other printed info includes "Home run king," "outfield," "Boston Red Sox" and "America Big League." 1950
            Last edited by JACKIE42; 03-20-2005, 11:23 AM.

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            • #51


              Both Joe and Dom DiMaggio were part of the US Major League All Star team assembled for a post season Tour of Japan. Dom hit .319 with three homers on the 16 game Tour, eclipsing his more highly regarded brother who hit only .296 with two homers.

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              • #52


                Bobby Shantz was one of nearly 20 US Major League stars who journeyed to Japan after the 1951 season to play Japanese teams. Shantz pitched in six of the 16 games (35 innings) and had a record of 3-0, 1.54 on the Tour.

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                • #53


                  1951 Wally Yonamine (Hawaii) (HOF) Rookie Bromide Card



                  Yonamine was the first postwar American star in Japan. Prior to his baseball career, he had been a running back for the San Francisco 49ers. He is credited with introducing the Japanese to a more aggressive style of play. Japanese had never before seen a player who slid hard with spikes up and who dived for fly balls. Yonamine's .311 lifetime batting average ranks in the top ten all time. This card shows the bespectacled Yonamine very early in his Japan Pro Baseball career.
                  Last edited by JACKIE42; 03-20-2005, 11:36 AM.

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                  • #54



                    There are two Japan Pro Baseball Hall of Fame members in the set-Atsushi Aramaki and Katsumi Shiraishi. Others are Kikuchi Hirayama, Yoshio Tenpo and Junji Nakatani. 1950
                    Last edited by JACKIE42; 03-20-2005, 11:42 AM.

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                    • #55


                      Jim Konstanty was a member of the New York Yankees when they made their first and only Tour of Japan. 1955

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                      • #56



                        Victor Starffin (HOF) (Russia)



                        . It contains a high quality likeness of Starffin compared to most menko. Shortly after this card was produced, Starffin went on to be Japan's first 300 game winner. 1950
                        Last edited by JACKIE42; 03-20-2005, 12:04 PM.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by JACKIE42
                          This is a much scarcer card than the often seen "Ted Williams back" menko. 1950
                          Some GREAT finds!!!!
                          John

                          Stan Musial Pages
                          CultureDose Media Reviews

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                          • #58


                            Leadoff hitter for the Hankyu Braves, Yutaka Fukumoto used his blazing speed to run away with 13 consecutive stolen base crowns. His .781 stolen base percentage is higher than notable MLB thieves Ty Cobb, Maury Wills, and Lou Brock. Only Rickey Henderson has more career stolen bases than Fukumoto's 1065.

                            Also an outstanding center fielder, Fukumoto won 12 consecutive Golden Gloves. He also batted over .300 seven times over his 20 year career (1970-90), compiling a lifetime batting average of .291, with 1656 runs scored, 449 doubles, 115 triples, and 208 home runs.
                            John

                            Stan Musial Pages
                            CultureDose Media Reviews

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                            • #59

                              Despite his career batting average of .268 with 172 homers, by this late stage of his career, Eddie Robinson was basically a pinch hitter and occasional first baseman. He did play in 12 1955 Japan Tour games, batting .240 with 4 home runs in 25 at bats.
                              Last edited by JACKIE42; 03-21-2005, 10:27 AM.

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                              • #60


                                Shohei "Giant" Baba, Rikidozan and Antonio Inoki are the three most acclaimed Japanese professional wrestlers in history. Only one of these men began his professional athletic career as a pitcher with the Yomiuri Giants! In his heyday, Baba was billed as a 7 foot two inch, 325 pound monster. In reality, he was "only" about 6 feet 8 1/2". During his baseball career (age 19), he weighed in at a svelte 200 lbs. A right handed reliever, Baba's entire career as a pitcher consisted of three games, seven innings and a 1.29 ERA. Within a few years, he was a headliner on wrestling circuits both in Japan and in the US.

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