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Old February 29th, 2016, 04:04 PM   #11

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From Athenas post,

In the Asian theater, the Japanese and Americans captured each other’s baseball diamonds

There is IMO a very interesting history to baseball in Japan. The Japanese media giant Matsutaro Shoriki played a notable role in increasing the popularity of baseball in Japan, and this was during the lead up to WW2.



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The melding of commercial pragmatism with ideological dogma shaped much of Shoriki’s career. But another factor also defined the second half of his life: his relationship with America.



Baseball was its first manifestation. Shoriki was no baseball fan, but he knew he could use the sport to sell newspapers. The trouble was that Japan had no professional baseball teams. So, on the advice of a rival newspaper proprietor, he set out to bring Babe Ruth, the legendary Yankees slugger, to Tokyo. At first, Ruth was too busy: he did not join the all-star team that came out to Japan to play for capacity crowds in 1931. But in 1934, past his prime and noticeably overweight, he finally arrived.

It was a tense time, both within Japan and in its diplomacy. Soldiers burning with fascist zeal were assassinating government moderates in a bid to rekindle the traditional “spirit” of Nippon. The visit was controversial, coming just as Japan appeared to be turning its back on the outside world. But Shoriki’s intuition worked: ordinary Japanese went mad for Ruth and his team. Tens of thousands packed the streets of Ginza to see them parade in open-top cars. People thronged the Meiji stadium to watch them play, most barely minding (though Shoriki did) that the home sides usually lost.

Ordinary Japanese went mad for Ruth and his team. Tens of thousands packed the streets of Ginza to see them parade in open-top cars. People thronged the Meiji stadium to watch them play, most barely minding (though Shoriki did) that the home sides usually lost


Not everyone was so thrilled: a madcap group called the “War God Society” protested at the Americans’ “defilement” of grounds sacred to the Meiji emperor. Not long afterwards Shoriki was stabbed in the neck with a Japanese sword by an ex-policeman who professed to hate his pro-Americanism. He lost a litre of blood and nearly died. Undeterred, Shoriki founded the Yomiuri Giants baseball team, which has dominated the sport in Japan ever since.

Japan?s Citizen Kane | The Economist
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Old February 29th, 2016, 05:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JoanOfArc007 View Post
Thx for the information. Some say that during WW2, that the best military teams were better then the best MLB teams. This makes sense, considering the MLB and Negro league players that played together on the military teams during WW2.




Agreed.
I had to follow your comment about the Negro league players during the war years by googling for information.

The first major league black baseball player served in the second world war. Jim Crow, Meet Lieutenant Robinson: A 1944 Court-Martial
WWII was the first time there was a huge draft of colored men, and the military had a racist history. This did not set well with colored men from the north, who were not compliant with racism. This racist clash was hurting our war effort and action had to be taken, but as we all know it is too little and too limited to the war effort.

Jackie Robinson's story of dealing with racism as a soldier and later as a baseball player is a story of courage of determination.

The link is a long one and I don't recommend reading the unpleasant details. But the introduction to the story is inspiring and Jackie Robinson's triumph is a positive and encouraging story of the human spirit.
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Old March 1st, 2016, 06:41 AM   #13

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Originally Posted by athena View Post
I had to follow your comment about the Negro league players during the war years by googling for information.

The first major league black baseball player served in the second world war. Jim Crow, Meet Lieutenant Robinson: A 1944 Court-Martial
WWII was the first time there was a huge draft of colored men, and the military had a racist history. This did not set well with colored men from the north, who were not compliant with racism. This racist clash was hurting our war effort and action had to be taken, but as we all know it is too little and too limited to the war effort.

Jackie Robinson's story of dealing with racism as a soldier and later as a baseball player is a story of courage of determination.

The link is a long one and I don't recommend reading the unpleasant details. But the introduction to the story is inspiring and Jackie Robinson's triumph is a positive and encouraging story of the human spirit.
Jackie Robinsons story is very compelling. Robinson was a victim of racism during his lifetime, but also a # of white folks helped Robinson to become MLBs first African American player. Robinson and certainly many other black ballplayers who served in WW2 were victims of racism..

At the same time though I would say that WW2 helped to combat racism..I have read that during the war that some of the military baseball teams were integrated with white MLB players and black negro league players. That really stands out to me because it shows us that even though black servicemen experienced racism during WW2, that many white servicemen were against racism. There are numerous pictures from the WW2 era which show black and white ball players palling around, having a good time..and this is the stuff that IMO strengthened America.

Baseball does have a very unique ability to unite people of all races and religions. Even in the Empire of Japan you had Japanese folks who during WW2 took a great interest in the MLB as well as the Negro leagues. One negro league player, Bill Mccrary, received a letter of praise from a Japanese citizen around the time of WW2. This can be seen at the 16 min mark of the following video,

[ame]www.youtube.com/watch?v=eORQqMg74k4[/ame]
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Old March 2nd, 2016, 07:38 PM   #14
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That you tube spoke inspiringly of human qualities that we love to hear about.

Picking up from there I found this link. There was a lot of support for ending segregation following the war against inequality and racism. Our patriotism at that time obviously contributed to a desire for equality and end to racism, and baseball associated this with something that is happy and associated with good sportsmanship and fair play. In the picture under the quote, you can see those were white men calling for the end of segregation who had been soldiers who fought side by side with black men. It all comes together, patriotism, morals, and a ball game.

The Real Story of Baseball's Integration That You Won't See in 42 - The Atlantic

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Progressive unions and civil rights groups picketed outside Yankee Stadium the Polo Grounds, and Ebbets Field in New York City, and Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field in Chicago. They gathered more than a million signatures on petitions, demanding that baseball tear down the color barrier erected by team owners and Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis. In July 1940, the Trade Union Athletic Association held an "End Jim Crow in Baseball" demonstration at the New York World's Fair. The next year, liberal unions sent a delegation to meet with Landis to demand that major league baseball recruit black players. In December 1943, Paul Robeson, the prominent black actor, singer, and activist, addressed baseball's owners at their annual winter meeting in New York, urging them to integrate their teams. Under orders from Landis, they ignored Robeson and didn't ask him a single question.
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