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Remembering Japanese Baseball

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Remembering Japanese Baseball
I'd like to announce that my first book on Japanese baseball, Remebering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game, is due to be published in March 2005. It is the first oral history of Japanese baseball published in English and it contains the stories of 25 former players including Wally Yonamine, Futoshi Nakanishi, Gene Bacque, Masaaki Mori, Daryl Spencer, Don Blasingame, Clyde Wright, Leron Lee, Orestes Destrade, and many others.
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Oct 2, 2004 10:02 AM ]

Who's the publisher? Also, please remind us in March when it actually is ready for sale.

Jim Albright
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Rob Fitts | Posted: Oct 2, 2004 11:14 PM ]

You can see more information about Remembering Japanese Baseball, including the answer to your question, at the book's web site
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Kenny | Posted: Mar 15, 2005 12:45 AM ]

When is this book going to be published? On the website it says March 2005, but it's March already and I haven't seen it anywhere. I'm really looking forward to reading it, but I just wish I knew when it was coming out.
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Rob Fitts | Posted: Mar 16, 2005 12:58 AM ]


The first copy rolled off the press last Friday (March 11). It should be available in about 10 days. You can order it at www.Remembering


Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Basebill | Posted: Mar 19, 2005 9:28 AM | TYS Fan ]

So where's my copy Rob? Just kidding my friend. I heartily await it's delivery. And remember, if it's not signed I'm sending it back! LOL!

Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: Apr 1, 2005 8:09 AM | NIP Fan ]

Will this book be available in stores anywhere, or only from your site, Rob? How many copies are in your first printing?

"The Glory of Their Times" is one of my favorite books ever, so I am looking forward to reading this.
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: rob fitts | Posted: Apr 5, 2005 1:06 PM ]

Thank you for your question. "Remembering Japanese Baseball" is now available on my web site and at major on-line book sellers. Currently, has the best price. In Japan, I believe and Kinokunia (web site) also have the book.
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Mischa | Posted: Mar 31, 2005 12:08 PM | TYS Fan ]

I got my copy of Mr. Fitts' book this week and read it during a bus trip. Overall I learned quite a bit about Japanese baseball history. You learn a lot about individual players like Ochiai, Yonamine, Kiyohara, etc. from the comments of others. The summaries are excellent - they flow smoothly, and only in a couple places can you even tell where Rob asked a question as he edited it so smoothly. He does an excellent job covering basically the post-war era.

My only real complaint is that it's mostly gaijin and only a few Japanese natives have a say. I'd prefer more balance as you do get very different views. Though even with the gaijin, you have folks who were really positive about their time in NPB, some who are neutral, and others who are negative. I think Mr. Fitts has made a great contribution to English-language coverage of Japanese baseball.

I'm looking forward to his Yonamine biography.
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: rob fitts | Posted: Apr 6, 2005 2:49 AM ]

I agree with you that it would have been nice to include more Japanese players. They do offer very different opinions than the gaijin. I wasn't able to include more because of the difficultly of interviewing Japanese players. First I had to gain access to them (not always easy to do), then I had to travel to Tokyo (very expensive), arrange a hotel conference room for the interview (expensive), hire a translator (expensive), and pay their interview fees (also expensive). So between the expense and the travel time, I wasn't able to interview more Japanese nationals. I wish that I could have.

Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: rogerbd | Posted: Apr 7, 2005 1:25 PM | FSH Fan ]

I just received Rob Fitts' book yesterday. I have enjoyed it very much. It is an easy read in the oral history tradition of "The Glory of Their Times." I have especially enjoyed the inital chapters recalling the trainig methods of the players of the 1950s and '60s, and the pecking/social order existing between the young players and established regulars. I enjoyed it more than any book on Japanese baseball I have read since "Wa" and, in my opinion, it gives a similarly balanced view of the "gaijin" experience. I highly recommend this new addition to literature about professional baseball in Japan.
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Apr 8, 2005 10:11 PM ]

I got my copy this week, and got through it quickly. It gives insight into a lot of individuals in the game, stuff which will undoubtedly find its way into my work. The issue of limited numbers of Japanese interviewees isn't a large one, but it has the strengths and weaknesses any oral history book has. Overall, I'd say it's an excellent addition to the library of anyone who wants to learn about Japanese baseball, right along side of You Gotta Have Wa, The Meaning of Ichiro, A Zen Way of Baseball, and Slugging It Out in Japan.

Jim Albright
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Basebill | Posted: Apr 11, 2005 11:53 AM | TYS Fan ]

First, I must preface my remarks. I have never met Rob and more than likely, never will, but I have had an association with him for over five years and of all the people I've never met, he has a seemingly unlimited amount of integrity and generousity. I have kidded him calling him "Darth" Fitts for embracing the dark side of the force (he is a Kyojin and Yankee fan), but I've met few people in my life more considerate than Rob.

That said, "Remembering Japanese Baseball" allows Rob to step right into the starting line-up with Whiting-san, Holway-san, and Nagawa-san. It is absolutely a must read for anyone interested in baseball, not just Japanese baseball. The underlying poignancy of some of the interviews is striking. My personnel favorite is the section with Futoshi Nakanishi.

I thank Rob for this tome and hope he has more tape and time (and funds!). My only regret is he was, for whatever reason, unable to include the player who first led me to NPB, George Altman. My rating: 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, and a humble thank you.

Bill Stevens
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Kevin Campbell | Posted: Apr 17, 2005 8:16 AM ]

Remembering Japanese baseball was an outstanding, unique book. Unique from the respect that an oral history of players who played in Japan has not been previously available in the English language in the U.S., and outstanding because of the fine work of the editor/author, Robert Fitts, and the interesting and entertaing reflections of the players as subjects.

I highly recommend the book to fans of baseball in general and fans of Japanese baseball in particular. Kudos to Rob for providing his tome to all of us.
Re: Remembering Japanese Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Kenny | Posted: Apr 19, 2005 6:11 PM ]

I ordered this book from Amazon and finally received it in the mail recently. I read it on and off for 2 days and finally finished it. What a great book. I really had a hard time putting it down.

I liked the stories from the old-school players from the 1950s and '60s, but what I really enjoyed was reading the stories from the players of my generation. I'm 32-years old so it was really enjoyable to read the stories from the players I loved as a kid - guys like Animal, Boomer, Leron Lee, and then later Bryant, Destrade, Howell, and Powell.

What really impressed me about the book was the writing style. It never gets dull and it makes you wish there were more stories in there.

I was impressed also with the class shown by Jack Howell and Alonzo Powell. They both named their interpreters and talked about how much their interpreters helped them out and made their life in Japan easier.

I've done some interpreting for American athletes myself and I know how hard that job is, and I know that there are players out there who take their interpreters for granted and treat them like servants. When you're an interpreter, some American players never even want to spend any time with you socially, and the only time they call you is when they need something. You rarely see players give credit to their interpreters, so it was nice to see Howell and Powell praise their interpreters.

Lastly, I have to mention one thing that caught my eye. Eric Hillman says that Ichiro grew facial hair after going to Seattle since he had to stay clean-shaven for 9 years. He was obviously not here for Ichiro's last 2 seasons with Orix when Ichiro started sporting his now trademark "designer stubble."
Sporting News - SABR Baseball Research Award
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jun 18, 2006 11:52 AM | YBS Fan ]

It was recently announced that "Remembering Japanese Baseball" has become one of three Sporting News -SABR Baseball Research Award winners.

Congratulations Fitts-san on an excellent book. Looking forward to Part II.

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)

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