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Japanese Baseball 1950s vs US Military teams

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Japanese Baseball 1950s vs US Military teams
I'm researching Japanese baseball from the mid to late '50s. There were a few games played in major stadiums between Japanese teams and the US Navy Seventh Fleet team between 1954 and 1957 which included crew members of the USS Taussig DD-746, under coach Sellers.

Maybe it was in Yokosuka at Oppama? I know they played in Taiwan, but don't think it would have been in a stadium there.

Anyone know? The help is greatly appreciated!
Re: Japanese Baseball 1950s vs US Military teams
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: May 27, 2013 11:57 PM | YBS Fan ]

I've passed the question on to the Tokyo SABR mailing list (in Japanese) in hopes that somebody there might know about such games. It's a longshot, though.

The stadium in Oppama (which is near where I live) was recently built. It was just one of several fields before that. I was under the impression that it was owned by the neighboring Nissan Motors factory. It wouldn't have been an easy trip from the Yokosuka Navy Base in the mid to late 1950s.

My first idea was that it might have been played at Lou Gehrig Stadium, at the location that Yokohama Stadium is today. Immediately after The War, that whole area was under control of the U.S. military. However, it was turned back over to Japan in 1952 and renamed to 横浜公園平和野球場 (Yokohama Koen Heiwa Yakyujo - Yokohama Park Peace Baseball Stadium). It was mainly used for high school and amateur games up until Yokohama Stadium was built on the site (completed in 1977) and the Taiyo Whales (currently Yokohama DeNA BayStars) moved in.

I'll report back if I get any replies from Tokyo SABR.
Re: Japanese Baseball 1950s vs US Military teams
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: May 28, 2013 1:35 PM | YBS Fan ]

Another suggestion that has been presented would be to investigate the records for the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers in the early 1950s. "Cappy" Harada, who served at GHQ and later as a scout for the Yomiuri Giants, may have played a role in setting up such "friendly" games.

Best of all, any such records should be available in English. But as they probably aren't digitized, you may have to make a trip to Washington D.C. to verify if such a record does exist. That actually sounds like a very good starting point for this whole project.

Hope this helps.
Re: Japanese Baseball 1950s vs US Military teams
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: May 28, 2013 10:41 AM | YBS Fan ]

I've gotten a reply that one of the members has a memory of reading about such a game at Heiwa Kyujo.

He also mentioned that some U.S. minor leaguers serving in the Navy had briefly played in NPB (I covered Charlie Hood in this Pro Yakyu Report). He named Tony Roig from memory, but I think that he meant Hood and Leo Kiely. Roig played in Japan in the 1960s (and I couldn't find reference to him serving on a ship), whereas Hood and Kiely both played in Japan while stationed out of Yokosuka Navy Base in 1953. The time period fits for the latter two.

Nonetheless, it looks like I had the right venue. But this may have been a year earlier than your range.

I'll keep you updated if anything more is found.

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

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Michael Westbay
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