Baseball in Japan
MLB: History: All-Star Series in Japan History
Teams from America’s major leagues have toured Japan since 1913. Find out more about the legendary home-run competition between Hank Aaron and Sadaharu Oh in 1974, the Japanese high school pitcher who struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1934 and the Japanese player poised to become “the next Ichiro.”
Jim Allen’s Japanese Baseball Page
The Hot Corner is the title of Jim Allen’s weekly column about pro yakyu for The Daily Yomiuri. His personal site contains an archive of his 2001-2002 columns, a brief history of Japanese baseball and a guide to the game for the uninitiated. Allen can be found on Twitter.
World Baseball Classic
Baseball fans around the world have been wishing for a worldwide competition (a true World Series) for baseball for years. 2006 marked the inaugural year of the World Baseball Classic, and Japan was crowned the winner. Find out more about the series at this official site.
ESPN: World Baseball Classic
The first worldwide baseball series is over and Japan is the champ. ESPN writer Jayson Stark explains why Japan “deserves to be called the best.” (March 21, 2006, Registration required)
Slate Magazine: The Anti-Ichiro
Hideki Matsui, the power-hitting left fielder for the New York Yankees, couldn’t be more different from Ichiro Suzuki, the record-breaking right fielder for the Seattle Mariners. This article examines the different attitudes of the two Japanese Major Leaguers, and explains why Hideki Matsui will make a perfect Yankee. (March 31, 2003)
Slate Magazine: The Fans in Japan
Japanese baseball fan and writer Robert Whiting explains why fans were happy when the Nippon Professional Baseball Players Association went on strike for the first time in 70 years. (September 29, 2004)
Salon.com: In the land of the Yomiuri Giants
Writer Sasha Issenberg recalls the history of baseball in Japan and the people — a few teachers and a Red Sox fan — responsible for bringing it to Japan at the turn of the 20th century. (March 29, 2000)
Koshien and Youth Baseball
The site of Japan’s High School Baseball Tournament is also the oldest ballpark in Japan. During the spring, it is the home of the Japan League team the Hanshin Tigers. This page on a Hanshin Tigers fan site provides a brief history of Koshien Stadium.
JapanVisitor: A Sweltering Day Out at Koshien
Koshien will mark its 90th anniversary in 2008. This article from travel site JapanVisitor.com recounts the intense play and intense heat during a typical summer day at Koshien Stadium.
News in High School Baseball
Results from recent Koshien spring and summer tournaments are summarized on this website.
Wikipedia: High school baseball in Japan
Comprehensive overview of history of high school baseball in Japan. (Note: Wikipedia is a free-content encyclopedia — bear in mind that it is written collaboratively by people from around the world.)
Also on PBS and NPR
Ken Burns’s Baseball
The companion site for Ken Burn’s Emmy-winning documentary contains a comprehensive timeline of American baseball, profiles of key players, writing about baseball by Doris Kearns Goodwin and George Will, lots of streaming video clips and an introduction to the sport for beginners.
Stealing Home: The Case of Contemporary Cuban Baseball
Explore the social significance of baseball in Cuba as a national pastime that was once the sustenance of its country’s identity but more recently has fallen prey to the oppression of the Cuban political system. The website talks to players and baseball personnel about defections to America, examines the history of Cuban baseball and takes a look at the future of baseball in Cuba.
American Experience: Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life
This episode of the show presents a portrait of the famed hero of the New York Yankees, whose 56-game hitting streak remains one of the most storied records in sports. Explore the website to read interviews about DiMaggio and try to beat his hitting streak in an interactive game.
Morning Edition: Japan Tops Cuba to Grab World Baseball Crown
Listen to NPR’s coverage of the 2006 World Baseball Classic. (March 21, 2006)
NPR.org: World Series? Wait a Minute
The growing phenomenon of “global baseballing” influenced Major League Baseball’s decision to introduce the World Baseball Classic in 2006. (June 1, 2005)
Talk of the Nation: Japanese Baseball Players
Robert Whiting recounts some of the contract idiosyncrasies that brought Masanori Murakami in 1964 and then, 30 years later, Hideo Nomo to the Major Leagues. (April 6, 2004)
Morning Edition: Japanese Baseball
Ev Ehrlich examines the influx of foreign players in the Major Leagues within the context of an ever-expanding global economy. (April 1, 2002)
Talk of the Nation: Godzilla vs. Ichiro
American League fans aren’t the only ones with an interest in the outcome of Tuesday night’s game between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners. Not only does the game pit the AL east and west leaders against one another, it also features the matchup of two of Japan’s biggest baseball stars: Yankee Hideki Matsui and Mariner Ichiro Suzuki. Commentator Takeo Nakajima joins Neal Conan to preview “Godzilla vs. Ichiro,” which is expected to draw between four and five million viewers in Japan. (April 29, 2003)