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1 year ago
Biz Mackey & unidentified Japanese ballplayer, 1927



While the 1934 white major league visit has gotten all the attention (and credit [for the rise of pro ball in Japan]), cause-and-effect might actually have been reversed: [Kazuo] Sayama noted that the [1934] tour was sponsored by the Yomiuri newspaper company, which was already planning to found a professional team (which would become the Giants). So rather than being the catalyst for Japanese pro baseball, maybe it would be more accurately viewed as publicity for a venture that was already in the works.The white players, Sayama said, treated their opponents and the fans with contempt, running up scores against inexperienced opponents and insulting their hosts, both on the field and off.  On one rainy day, Ruth played first base holding a parasol.  Gehrig wore rubber boots.  Al Simmons lay down in the outfield grass while a game was in progress.
The Negro Leaguers [who toured Japan in 1927 and 1932], by contrast, were said to have appreciated their hosts’ generosity, and enjoyed a respite from prejudice and discrimination.  In Sayama’s view, the Negro Leaguers’ courtesy, professionalism, and sincerity may have impressed Japanese fans more than the boorish and arrogant behavior of the white big leaguers.  Plus, the Royal Giants refrained from running up the score, a practice they probably picked up while barnstorming against white teams in small towns.
- Zurui, Black in Tokyo




Read the rest: "Negro Leaguers in Japan"

Photo via Black Tokyo h/t @KevinBassStache

Biz Mackey & unidentified Japanese ballplayer, 1927

While the 1934 white major league visit has gotten all the attention (and credit [for the rise of pro ball in Japan]), cause-and-effect might actually have been reversed: [Kazuo] Sayama noted that the [1934] tour was sponsored by the Yomiuri newspaper company, which was already planning to found a professional team (which would become the Giants). So rather than being the catalyst for Japanese pro baseball, maybe it would be more accurately viewed as publicity for a venture that was already in the works.The white players, Sayama said, treated their opponents and the fans with contempt, running up scores against inexperienced opponents and insulting their hosts, both on the field and off.  On one rainy day, Ruth played first base holding a parasol.  Gehrig wore rubber boots.  Al Simmons lay down in the outfield grass while a game was in progress.

The Negro Leaguers [who toured Japan in 1927 and 1932], by contrast, were said to have appreciated their hosts’ generosity, and enjoyed a respite from prejudice and discrimination.  In Sayama’s view, the Negro Leaguers’ courtesy, professionalism, and sincerity may have impressed Japanese fans more than the boorish and arrogant behavior of the white big leaguers.  Plus, the Royal Giants refrained from running up the score, a practice they probably picked up while barnstorming against white teams in small towns.

- Zurui, Black in Tokyo

Read the rest: "Negro Leaguers in Japan"

Photo via Black Tokyo h/t @KevinBassStache

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