Adjust Font Size: A A       Guest settings   Register

R & R in Japan in 1959

Discussion in the Pro Yakyu History forum
R & R in Japan in 1959
I am cleaning out my cellar, going through some stuff I had min my old army duffle bag. I brought back a lot of memories. Well anayway, I was shipping to Korea in March of 1959 as a 23 draftee for army duty.

In the fall (October), I went on R & R (Rest and Recuperation) to Japan. We were there a week. Bought a lot of things, went to military clubs in Yokohama, it was great.

However, one day the USO guy said that if we liked baseball that we might want to take in Japanese baseball. They were playing their World Series. We took the tickets. It was the Nankai Hawks and the Giants.

There was a pitcher who won 30 plus games for the Hawks pitching. I figured that maybe this baseball is low level. The game was good, and the Hawks won.

But I was back in Korea when I read in the Stars and Stripes that this same pitcher of the Hawks won all of the games. I have the paper, it's brownish and has dry rot. However, I can't read it, being almost 50 years later. Was I correct? Or has my older age taken my senses?
Comments
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Feb 16, 2007 8:51 AM | YBS Fan ]

You are correct. The pitcher you're referring to is Tadashi Sugiura.

In 1959, Sugiura won 38 games while losing 4. He threw 19 complete games, struck out 336 batters (while walking just 35), and had an ERA of 1.40 over 371 1/3 innings. (The second place pitcher for 1959, Nishitetsu Lions' Kazuhisa Inao, was 30 and 15 in 23 complete games over 402 1/3rd innings, striking out 321 with a 1.65 ERA. That was quite a race for the top pitcher's spot.)

And yes, Sugiuchi Sugiura got credit for the win in all four Nippon Series games that year, sweeping sensational sophomore Shigeo Nagashima and the Giants.

Historical trivia: Who was the primary catcher for Nankai in 1959?
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: Feb 16, 2007 9:19 AM | NIP Fan ]

[You have a typo in the third paragraph with Sugiuchi instead of Sugiura - thinking of current Hawks? ]

The primary catcher for Nankai in 1959 was none other than the current Rakuten manager, Katsuya Nomura.

That's crazy though. Did Sugiura's arm mostly blow out by the time he turned 30?
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Feb 16, 2007 11:34 AM | YBS Fan ]

Thanks for the correction. And, yes, I've been spending the last several days entering and checking the 2007 players, so my fingers may have taken on a mind of their own when it comes to typing names.
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: Animaru Resulie | Posted: Feb 16, 2007 9:38 AM | HT Fan ]

No! It can't be that old fogey who's always mumbling something cynical, can it? The geezer who just chewed out Masahiro Tanaka the other day for playing golf on his day off? The guy who's so superstitious, he won't change his underpants during a winning streak?
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Feb 16, 2007 11:37 AM | YBS Fan ]

Exactly the point I was trying to make by bringing him up. Like him or hate him, that old geezer is a big part of Pro Yakyu history (and even in victory, he's been overshadowed by Nagashima).
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: Animaru Resulie | Posted: Feb 17, 2007 7:32 AM | HT Fan ]

- There was a pitcher who won 30 plus games for the Hawks pitching. I figured that maybe this baseball is low level. The game was good, and the Hawks won.

Man, you saw Japanese baseball history in the making. Awesome.

- Like him or hate him, that old geezer is a big part of Pro Yakyu history.

Nomura reminds me of the grumpy old man Dana Carvey used to play a long time ago on Saturday Night Live. I also sort of think of him as the Donald Rumsfeld of Japanese baseball.
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: Guest: joe kalesnik | Posted: Feb 17, 2007 4:23 AM ]

So I was right. However, I failed really to put it in a better question. Did the 30 plus wins include season and playoffs? How many games during the regular season did they play, not counting playoffs?
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: Animaru Resulie | Posted: Feb 17, 2007 10:08 AM | HT Fan ]

According to an article on the Pacific League in Wikipedia, a team would play a given opponent 26 times a year, meaning there were 130 games played in 1959. There were no playoffs then, and the team with the most wins went on to the Japan Series.

Sugiura appeared in 371 innings during the regular season, so he pitched for almost a third of all the innings the Hawks played that year. Absolutely mind boggling.

There's a good article about Sugiura on Wikipedia in Japanese. It says he pitched submarine style, so this may partially explain his durability. It describes how he pitched through the 1959 Series with blisters on his fingers (Joe, did you happen to see blood dripping from the ball?), and goes on to explain how his career went downhill due to "impaired blood circulation" (leading to tendinitis?).

I wonder if his arm is still attached to his shoulder. I guess his old buddy Katsuya Nomura would observe that they don't make 'em like they used to.
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: Guest: joe kalesnik | Posted: Feb 17, 2007 12:52 PM ]

I didn't see any blood. However, I do remember that we, my buddy from Oklahoma and I, were going to leave half way through the game. But I think we decided to stay because it was the custom? There were some Air Force guys sitting to our side who, if I rmember, said you've got to stay. There were a lot of servicemen there. I don't know if they had USO tickets like us.

We had no eats, chewed gum the whole game. I think the infield was made of red dirt. It looked so odd. The best thing of Korean Service was R&R in Japan.

There was a Japanese beer in large brownish bottles that was sweet and also good. It seemed you could not really feel drunk. I think the bottle was like 16 oz.

I found out later that the U.S. Air Force had a big baseball league there and also would play semi-pro teams around Japan for public relations.
Re: R & R in Japan in 1959
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Feb 17, 2007 10:12 AM | YBS Fan ]

The 38 wins on his stats page (see link above) was for the regular season. The four wins in the Nippon Series were on top of that, making it 42 wins on the year (if you want to look at it that way). There were no playoffs in 1959. The Nippon Series was the only post-season play.

In 1959, the Pacific League played a 130 game schedule and made up tie games. Nankai had 4 tie games that year, so they played 134 games. (Nishitetsu made up 14 tie games to finish the season with 144 games played.)

Again, looking at Sugiura's stats page for 1959, you can see that he played in 69 of those 134 regular season games, starting 35 games (complete games + starts) and closing 19 games.

As mentioned above, you were fortunate to have seen a piece of Japanese baseball history in the making.
About

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.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)
Founder

Search for Pro Yakyu news and information
Copyright (c) 1995-2018 JapaneseBaseball.com.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Some rights reserved.