The Koshien Stadium Experience

Koshien Stadium

David Maher, a photo-journalist, is based in Japan. He has lived there for many years and is a keen observer of Japanese culture. He contributes to Japan Tourist, an English language website–a good source for what to see and do in Japan–on the beaten track or off. This week, my son Brian (a friend of […]

Masaichi Kaneda: The Emperor

Kaneda 400th Win

In Japan, during the 1950s and 1960s, Masaichi Kaneda, Shigeo Nagashima, Sadaharu Oh and Katsuya Nomura were the faces of professional baseball. Nagashima, a third baseman, and Oh, a first baseman, were power-hitting teammates for the Yankees of Japan, the Yomiuri Giants. Nomura was the home run-slugging catcher for the Nankai Hawks, and Masaichi Kaneda […]

Isao Harimoto: The Greatest Hitter in Japanese Baseball History

Harimoto-Orions

On a nice Spring afternoon in 1959, our father took us to see the Toei Flyers (now called the Nippon Ham Fighters… of Yu Darvish fame) play the Nankai Hawks at Namba Yakyujo, home of the Hawks in Osaka, Japan. The Flyers’ left fielder was an emerging rookie named Isao Harimoto, a left-hander who was […]

Kazuhisa Inao: The Greatest “Big Game” pitcher in Japanese Baseball History

Kazuhisa Inao-620

Those of us who grew up during the ’50s in Japan all knew about Kazuhisa “Iron Man” Inao. In fact, he earned that nickname on his way to 276 career victories and a revered place in Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame. Victor Starffin and Tadashi “Bozo” Wakabayashi, great pitchers in their era, were now retired. […]

Victor Starffin: The Greatest Pitcher in Japanese Baseball History?

Victor-Starffin-620

Victor Starffin, except for a fluke of history, might have been a member of the American baseball Hall of Fame. He was the first pitcher to win 300 games in Japanese baseball history, and was elected to the Japan Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1960. Much of his family history is speculative and disputed, […]

History of Baseball: The Man From Maui

Wally Yonamine

A previous post about the great pitcher, Tadashi “Bozo” Wakabayashi, prompted an ongoing conversation about who is the greatest Hawaiian athlete of all time. There are many candidates… Buster Crabbe, Gerry Lopez, the legendary Duke Kahanamoku… and several other worthy athletes. For my money, the greatest athlete in the history of Hawaii is… the man […]