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Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Why there isn’t a single Asian player in the Baseball Hall of Fame

For the Japanese athletes in the league, particularly those who paved the way decades ago, this has been a major hurdle. Because of the nature of the agreement between the Japanese League and the MLB for acquiring Japanese talent, Japanese players’ careers are often shorter, and they don’t have sufficient time to showcase their skills and rack up the stats in the U.S., Burgos said. And unlike other sports, the Baseball Hall of Fame does not take into consideration a player’s dominance in international leagues. Many players like Matsui, who was placed on the ballot in 2018 but not elected, had long, phenomenal careers in Japan before signing with an American team.

The politics of language also affects players’ chances of induction, experts say. Ryan Reft, historian at the Library of Congress, whose work is included in the anthology “Asian American Sporting Cultures,” said that the voting bloc is largely made up of sportswriters….

Amid these challenges, one question arises, particularly when discussing Nomo: Shouldn’t impact, or a player’s role in blazing a trail for others, factor into Hall of Fame discussions? Burgos said that to make it in, there are three paths individuals can take: as a player, as a manager or an executive, or as a contributor to the game — and a person can only be evaluated on one of those three paths. This limitation has affected pioneers of color in the past, Burgos said, such as Buck O’Neil, a first baseman and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, who made history as the first Black coach in the MLB with the Chicago Cubs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 10:40 AM | 89 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: japanese baseball

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   1. bfan Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:11 AM (#6038661)
Because Ichiro's 5 years isn't up yet?
   2. salvomania Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:13 AM (#6038663)
The cultural pressure to marry may be stronger?
   3. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:13 AM (#6038664)
"the MLB"

I'll read TFA...my general feeling is that I wouldn't oppose Nomo's inclusion in the HOF, I wouldn't vote for him, either. As #1 notes, Ichiro will make it and he seems more appropriate as the first.
   4. sanny manguillen Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:43 AM (#6038668)
I believe Wally Yonamine remains the only North American player in the NPB Hall of Fame.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6038670)
I don't see why Cooperstown wouldn't want to begin inducting the best foreign players. It seems like a pretty big missed opportunity. I imagine an Oh ceremony might get some visitors to induction weekend.
   6. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:52 AM (#6038671)
I'm glad Ichiro will be the first, he does seem fitting.
   7. Rally Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:54 AM (#6038672)
Ichiro is the chosen one to join both halls of fame. He did enough to earn admission to Japan’s HOF without consideration for anything he did over here. And he did enough over here that he’s first ballot even if you give no consideration to what he did in Japan.

I don’t feel like Cooperstown needs to admit Sadaharu Oh or Masaichi Kaneda. Nor do I feel like Japan’s HOF has a need to induct Hank Aaron or Walter Johnson.
   8. Rally Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:56 AM (#6038673)
#4, Lefty O’Doul is in their hall.
   9. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:58 AM (#6038676)
4, Lefty O’Doul is in their hall.


Presumably not as a player.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: September 08, 2021 at 12:05 PM (#6038679)

I don’t feel like Cooperstown needs to admit Sadaharu Oh or Masaichi Kaneda.


They don't need to. Creating an honor for the best players who didn't play here would only help it keep its place as the premier baseball hall in the world. It doesn't have to be full induction. Create an award like the Spink but for the best global players.
   11. sanny manguillen Posted: September 08, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6038681)
Sadaharu Oh


I had wondered if they might induct him in 2013, once they saw thay hadn't elected anyone who was alive.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: September 08, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6038682)
And he did enough over here that he’s first ballot

would Ichiro's 109 OPS+ be the lowest ever for a corner OF HOFer? did the writer elect one lower? well, Lou Brock also had a 109, but that first-ballot selection is considered to be a mistake (he still has yet to earn HOM induction fwiw).

now, Ichiro obviously picks up a lot in defense (especially over Brock) and baserunning - but should it be enough to catapult him from "weak-hitting-for-a-corner OF HOFer" to "first ballot HOFer?"

of course, he WILL get in on the first ballot - that we do know.
   13. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 08, 2021 at 12:46 PM (#6038683)
The HOF does have Japanese material in its collection. Here's one.

It's a photo of the first game that the Emperor attended. Famously, Minoru Murayama lost the game on a walk-off home run to Shigeo Nagashima (both are hall of famers - Murayama always claimed that the ball was foul).
   14. RJ in TO Posted: September 08, 2021 at 12:53 PM (#6038684)
I had wondered if they might induct him in 2013, once they saw thay hadn't elected anyone who was alive.
I was surprised to see he's still alive. He feels very much like a figure from a completely different era, like Cobb or Ruth, but was still active until 1980.
   15. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 08, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6038685)
I don't see why Cooperstown wouldn't want to begin inducting the best foreign players.
Most Hall voters have little or no expertise in foreign professional baseball, so why would one want them to opine in that area? The Japanese Hall of Fame is no less legitimate because it wasn’t blessed by the BBWAA.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: September 08, 2021 at 12:57 PM (#6038686)
Most Hall voters have little or no expertise in foreign professional baseball, so why would one want them to opine in that area?


It wouldn't need to be done by the BBWAA.

The Japanese Hall of Fame is no less legitimate because it wasn’t blessed by the BBWAA.


I didn't remotely imply that it was.

Do you think the great Japanese or Korean or other ballplayers who never played here would not like to be honored in Cooperstown?
   17. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 08, 2021 at 12:58 PM (#6038687)
I was surprised to see he's still alive. He feels very much like a figure from a completely different era, like Cobb or Ruth, but was still active until 1980.


Oh also remained in the game after his retirement as a player; he managed until 2008.
   18. . Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6038688)
The article itself is more clickbait to divide by ethnicity and race, for the profit of the author, the website, and ultimately FacebookGoogleTwitter. Best not to patronize it at this point.

would Ichiro's 109 OPS+ be the lowest ever for a corner OF HOFer?


It's pretty clear precedent at this late date that the walks that go into OPS+ are downgraded for legacy/Cooperstown purposes. I'll continue to argue that the precedent is spot-on. The athletic, lasting part of the art of baseball is hitting the baseball effectively; it isn't having good plate discipline. I actually sort of pity people who have such a hard time grasping this, as they're missing out on a lot of good stuff.

   19. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6038690)
I'll read TFA...my general feeling is that I wouldn't oppose Nomo's inclusion in the HOF, I wouldn't vote for him, either. As #1 notes, Ichiro will make it and he seems more appropriate as the first.


Both Nomo and Hideki Matsui are in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, and both made it on the first ballot, a much rarer honor in Japan than in Cooperstown. Nomo was the youngest person enshrined at the time of his election, and Matsui broke that record. While I also wouldn't oppose Nomo's inclusion in Cooperstown, I think it's more important that he be honored in the Japanese Hall, and if he never gets to Cooperstown, I'm OK with that.
   20. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6038691)
would Ichiro's 109 OPS+ be the lowest ever for a corner OF HOFer?


Tommy McCarthy, 102.
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:10 PM (#6038693)
Do you think the great Japanese or Korean or other ballplayers who never played here would not like to be honored in Cooperstown?
The Hall is about honoring those who played baseball in North America at the highest level - MLB, and more recently the Negro Leagues. Honoring players who never played here, and are mostly unknown here, seems like mission creep or cultural appropriation that is well outside the Hall’s area of expertise.
   22. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:10 PM (#6038694)
For Halls of Fame, more is usually better - you go there to learn about the game, and learning more is better. Create a "Global" wing. Invite the NPB Hall of Fame to curate it, or parts of it, perhaps. It would be good to have sections highlighting baseball in the Dominican Republic, Mexico (might be a way to induct Fernando), Venezuela, heck even Australia and Italy.
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:11 PM (#6038695)
The Hall is about honoring those who played baseball in North America at the highest level - MLB, and more recently the Negro Leagues. Honoring players who never played here, and are mostly unknown here, seems like mission creep or cultural appropriation that is well outside the Hall’s area of expertise.


It doesn't seem to be a problem for the Naismith.

There is no World Baseball Hall of Fame (that I know of). Cooperstown is as good a choice as any to become the place for that.

   24. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6038699)
It doesn't seem to be a problem for the Naismith.


Or the Hockey Hall of Fame. Players such as Vladislav Tretiak, the great Soviet goalie who never played in the NHL, have been inducted.
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6038700)
For Halls of Fame, more is usually better - you go there to learn about the game, and learning more is better. Create a "Global" wing. Invite the NPB Hall of Fame to curate it, or parts of it, perhaps. It would be good to have sections highlighting baseball in the Dominican Republic, Mexico (might be a way to induct Fernando), Venezuela, heck even Australia and Italy.
But not Cuba, because Florida's a swing state ;).
   26. bobm Posted: September 08, 2021 at 02:03 PM (#6038705)
Why there isn't a single Asian player in the Baseball Hall of Fame


[1] Because Ichiro's 5 years isn't up yet?

Ichiro *is* an Asian player who hit singles.
   27. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: September 08, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#6038706)
The cultural pressure to marry may be stronger?


Bravo, sir.
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 08, 2021 at 02:18 PM (#6038709)
It doesn't seem to be a problem for the Naismith.


The number of people no one has ever heard of who keep getting enshrined in the basketball hall of fame has become kind of a joke, hasn't it?

If you asked 100 random American sports fans which Hall of Fame has inducted Arthur Trester, Jody Conradt, Arad McCutchen and Ernest Quigley, you'd be lucky if a single one would get it right.
   29. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6038710)
For Halls of Fame, more is usually better - you go there to learn about the game, and learning more is better. Create a "Global" wing. Invite the NPB Hall of Fame to curate it, or parts of it, perhaps. It would be good to have sections highlighting baseball in the Dominican Republic, Mexico (might be a way to induct Fernando), Venezuela, heck even Australia and Italy.

I don't think more is necessarily better. Who gets inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame has always seemed pretty inconsequential to me because of lower and more arbitrary standards. I wouldn't want to see Cooperstown move in that direction.

Despite the criticisms, Cooperstown has a pretty great thing going. People actually care about who gets inducted and spend a lot of time debating it. That basically doesn't happen with the Basketball Hall because few fans care and the obvious people, as well as a ton of non-obvious ones, are in.

Do you think the great Japanese or Korean or other ballplayers who never played here would not like to be honored in Cooperstown?

I honestly have no idea. Has any of them ever said they would?
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: September 08, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6038711)
The number of people no one has ever heard of who keep getting enshrined in the basketball hall of fame has become kind of a joke, hasn't it?

If you asked 100 random American sports fans which Hall of Fame has inducted Arthur Trester, Jody Conradt, Arad McCutchen and Ernest Quigley, you'd be lucky if a single one would get it right.


And none of those folks you listed relates to the point of the Naismith acknowledging global greats.


I don't think more is necessarily better. Who gets inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame has always seemed pretty inconsequential to me because of lower and more arbitrary standards. I wouldn't want to see Cooperstown move in that direction.


Again, it doesn't have to be induction (or it can certainly be limited). A Spink-like award presented annually to a foreign great, for instance.

I see a lot of upside for the Hall, and not much downside.
   31. The Mighty Quintana Posted: September 08, 2021 at 02:49 PM (#6038713)
Well, the Naismith just inducted Dino Radja, so this may not be the precedent baseball wants to follow. Having said that, I think Sadaharu Oh's induction is long overdue.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: September 08, 2021 at 02:50 PM (#6038714)
I'm in the camp that more is better. I would get on board with MLB hof doing an introductory class of 'deceased' Japanese greats and throw in one a year until you get basically their inner circle. Then when you finish there or even at the same time include 'world wide greats' if there are any to consider. I don't want to diminish the quality of the players in the hof, but it cannot hurt to be more inclusive and create a true world wide hof.
   33. . Posted: September 08, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6038716)
The NBA and NHL opened theirs up for marketing purposes. MLB is more insular than either of those two leagues, by quite a margin -- and baseball is less of a global sport than either basketball or hockey, again by quite a margin.
   34. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 08, 2021 at 03:13 PM (#6038719)
And none of those folks you listed relates to the point of the Naismith acknowledging global greats.


Sorry, I should have mentioned Hortencia Marcari, Sandro Gamba, and Lindsay Gaze. As others have said, it's become less and less important who's been inducted to the Naismith - it doesn't seem to be much of an honor.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 03:39 PM (#6038722)
As others have said, it's become less and less important who's been inducted to the Naismith - it doesn't seem to be much of an honor.

I can't remember hearing about an induction class.
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: September 08, 2021 at 03:40 PM (#6038723)
As others have said, it's become less and less important who's been inducted to the Naismith - it doesn't seem to be much of an honor.


There's probably a middle ground between honoring everyone and sticking to the greats.
   37. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 03:48 PM (#6038725)

The Hall is about honoring those who played baseball in North America at the highest level - MLB, and more recently the Negro Leagues.


Is this in the charter or something? Not being argumentative, just wondering if it is actually limited in scope to just North America. It is the "National" Baseball Hall of Fame, but obviously it has extended to Canada, but I didn't know if it was written it had to be limited to North American leagues or anything. As others have noted, the Basketball and Hockey HOFs honor international players as well. I guess I don't see why we couldn't do the same with Cooperstown and honor Japanese, Korean, Mexican, and Cuban league contributions.
   38. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 08, 2021 at 04:08 PM (#6038731)
Mexico is in North America, and there hasn't been much discussion about inducting George Brunet.
   39. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 05:19 PM (#6038756)

I see a lot of upside for the Hall, and not much downside.

I don't see much upside, but I'm open to being persuaded otherwise.
   40. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 05:20 PM (#6038758)
I don't see much upside, but I'm open to being persuaded otherwise.

The only upside would be if a ton of Japanese tourists started visiting Cooperstown. I find that unlikely.
   41. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: September 08, 2021 at 05:50 PM (#6038769)
But not Cuba, because Florida's a swing state ;).


I forgot Cuba! I also forgot Korea and Taiwan, but not intentionally.

The only upside would be if a ton of Japanese tourists started visiting Cooperstown. I find that unlikely.


I think you are thinking too small. Personally, I think of Cooperstown not as a a shrine to MLB, but as a shrine to Baseball - and the inclusion of the Negro Leagues reinforces that. If Cooperstown would act along these lines, you may indeed get a fair number of global tourists, especially from the East Asian countries. It's what, 4 hours from NYC and 4 hours from Buffalo, so I could imagine tour companies including it in a bus tour package along with Niagara Falls starting from NYC. It would be good for baseball. It could be a partnership, even, with Cooperstown lending materials to the Japanese Hall and vice-versa, kinda like how the British Museum lends stuff to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
   42. John Northey Posted: September 08, 2021 at 06:16 PM (#6038776)
If they don't have a 'World Baseball' wing they really should to highlight stuff like Oh and other Japanese greats, great stuff from other nations too.
   43. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 06:28 PM (#6038780)
I think you are thinking too small. Personally, I think of Cooperstown not as a a shrine to MLB, but as a shrine to Baseball - and the inclusion of the Negro Leagues reinforces that. If Cooperstown would act along these lines, you may indeed get a fair number of global tourists, especially from the East Asian countries.

I don't know, it still seems like pretty marginal upside. Thinking about my own behavior as a tourist, I don't go to museums in other countries to see American stuff. I go to see their stuff (or unique international items/collections that I can't see here).

If the BBHOF had a section on international baseball history with cool memorabilia and information, that would be one thing (maybe they do have such a thing -- it's been a while since I visited). If they just induct a bunch of foreign players and put up plaques to them, it doesn't seem like it would move the needle very much.
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: September 08, 2021 at 07:09 PM (#6038782)
The only upside would be if a ton of Japanese tourists started visiting Cooperstown. I find that unlikely.

there is a large outlet mall at least an hour north of Manhattan that gets something like one-third of its annual retail revenues from Asian tourists who take buses to see a little scenery and then shop til they drop. and yes, I do find that amazing (though not as amazing as once being on a "Sopranos" tour bus that left Times Square mid-Saturday morning and took up half the day touring gritty North Jersey sites. an Australian on the bus told me he loved "the grit" - just what he had hoped for. all but 3 of about 50 seats were filled by foreign tourists, as there was a mother and son from Scranton, Pa. aboard as well. why spend another half-day in Manhattan when you.... yeah, I don't get it.)

Japan in particular is a baseball-mad country and seems to be pretty fascinated by what Americans think of them. an impressive Oh wing at Cooperstown with other Asian memorabilia would be a big draw, I suspect.

if you build it, they will come.
   45. Brian C Posted: September 08, 2021 at 07:19 PM (#6038783)
It could be a partnership, even, with Cooperstown lending materials to the Japanese Hall and vice-versa

I think this is the most promising idea - not so much "inducting" Asian players but a kind of world baseball exhibit. A partnership like the one you describe would probably lend itself to a series of rotating special exhibits, like the special exhibits at the big natural history or art museums. Seems like a good way to honor non-American leagues without the Hall pretending to be the world's baseball HQ, which it's never been. And the partnership(s) with other national Halls would, if they could be brought to fruition, build some interest and goodwill both here and other countries.
Do you think the great Japanese or Korean or other ballplayers who never played here would not like to be honored in Cooperstown?

I have no idea and neither do you, of course. And different players will have different opinions, naturally. But it's not hard to imagine that some or possibly most might be indifferent or even hostile to the idea.

   46. Brian C Posted: September 08, 2021 at 07:22 PM (#6038785)
if you build it, they will come.

Never been to Cooperstown, but for those who have - do they not get a substantial number of Japanese tourists already? I'd be surprised if they didn't.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: September 08, 2021 at 07:27 PM (#6038787)
I have no idea and neither do you, of course. And different players will have different opinions, naturally. But it's not hard to imagine that some or possibly most might be indifferent or even hostile to the idea.


Actually, I find that pretty hard to imagine. MLB is the pinnacle of professional baseball (and, obviously, many of the best Japanese players have come here to play), and getting into the Hall is the pinnacle moment for any MLB player. It would seem unlikely they would be hostile to being honored by the Hall in some way, but I guess it's possible.
   48. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 08, 2021 at 07:36 PM (#6038789)
Sadaharu Oh


Ah yes, I remember that funny little thing he did where he lifted his front leg as the pitcher was winding up. The media at the time was not sure what to make of that.

Gee, I wonder if that will ever catch on?
   49. Brian C Posted: September 08, 2021 at 07:42 PM (#6038791)
(and, obviously, many of the best Japanese players have come here to play)

Many have ... many have not. Until pretty recently, virtually none did.
   50. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 08, 2021 at 08:03 PM (#6038796)
I have no idea and neither do you, of course. And different players will have different opinions, naturally. But it's not hard to imagine that some or possibly most might be indifferent or even hostile to the idea.

Actually, I find that pretty hard to imagine. MLB is the pinnacle of professional baseball (and, obviously, many of the best Japanese players have come here to play), and getting into the Hall is the pinnacle moment for any MLB player. It would seem unlikely they would be hostile to being honored by the Hall in some way, but I guess it's possible.


From what I know, most would not be hostile to the idea, but I'm sure that one of the most legendary figures in Japanese baseball history, an inductee of the original class in the Japanese Hall of Fame, and the person who the NPB equivalent of the Cy Young Award is named after, would be. Eiji Sawamura was the best pre-WW2 pitcher in Japan, known for his performances against Babe Ruth, etc. on their 1934 trip to Japan. He also later played on a Japanese team that visited the US and so impressed scouts here that they tried, unsuccessfully, to sign him. Here is what he wrote after returning to Japan from the American trip:

As a professional baseball player, I would love to pitch against the Major Leaguers, not just in an exhibition game like I pitched against Babe Ruth, but in a serious game. However, what I am concerned about is that I hate America, and I cannot possibly like American people, so I cannot live in America. Firstly, I would have a language problem. Secondly, American food does not include much rice so it does not satisfy me, so I cannot pitch as powerfully as I do in Japan. Last time I went to America, I could not pitch as well as I do in Japan. I cannot stand to be where formal customs exist, such as a man is not allowed to tie a shoelace when a woman is around. American women are arrogant.


The quote about "I cannot stand to be where formal customs exist" is really interesting, considering the Japanese use of honorifics, and the strictness and regimentation of many of their customs. You'd expect that sentiment more from an American player speaking about why he would find it difficult to play in Japan than the reverse.

Sawamura later lost his life to the Americans during WW2; the troop ship in which he was sailing was torpedoed by an American submarine in 1944.
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: September 08, 2021 at 08:09 PM (#6038798)
As a professional baseball player, I would love to pitch against the Major Leaguers, not just in an exhibition game like I pitched against Babe Ruth, but in a serious game. However, what I am concerned about is that I hate America, and I cannot possibly like American people, so I cannot live in America. Firstly, I would have a language problem. Secondly, American food does not include much rice so it does not satisfy me, so I cannot pitch as powerfully as I do in Japan. Last time I went to America, I could not pitch as well as I do in Japan. I cannot stand to be where formal customs exist, such as a man is not allowed to tie a shoelace when a woman is around. American women are arrogant.


OK, I'll grant that he's probably an exception.
   52. Pirate Joe Posted: September 08, 2021 at 08:41 PM (#6038809)
I cannot stand to be where formal customs exist, such as a man is not allowed to tie a shoelace when a woman is around.


Not allowed to tie your shoe when a woman is around? I've never heard that before. Was that really a thing?

   53. Rally Posted: September 08, 2021 at 08:45 PM (#6038811)
Oh - I always think of him alongside Henry Aaron. For a long time they each held the record, did it with amazing consistency for 20+ year careers. Oh is a bit younger, but for the most part they were contemporaries.
   54. Hombre Brotani Posted: September 08, 2021 at 09:05 PM (#6038821)
Ah yes, I remember that funny little thing he did where he lifted his front leg as the pitcher was winding up. The media at the time was not sure what to make of that.

Gee, I wonder if that will ever catch on?
Oh's step would be considered extreme even by today's standards. You don't see guys holding themselves on one leg for more than a split second, while Oh would come to a complete stop on his left leg, like a crane. It made sense when he explained his process in his book, but no matter how many times I see it on the YouTube newsreels, it just looks weird.
   55. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 08, 2021 at 09:15 PM (#6038824)
It made sense when he explained his process in his book,


Yes, Oh's autobiography, "Sadaharu Oh: A Zen Way of Baseball", is excellent, and well worth reading.
   56. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: September 08, 2021 at 09:55 PM (#6038836)
I cannot stand to be where formal customs exist, such as a man is not allowed to tie a shoelace when a woman is around.


WTF? Granted this was the '30s, & the guy appears to have been something of a nutjob anyway if that excerpt is any indication, but when was this ever a thing?
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 10:09 PM (#6038844)
WTF? Granted this was the '30s, & the guy appears to have been something of a nutjob anyway if that excerpt is any indication, but when was this ever a thing?

The idea that the U.S. was more regimented and restrictive on behavior than Japan in the 1930's is pretty wack-a-loon.
   58. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:02 PM (#6038861)
I cannot stand to be where formal customs exist, such as a man is not allowed to tie a shoelace when a woman is around.
re #s 52 & 56, perhaps an issue of peeking up dresses, or an ankle fetish? Otherwise, it’s hard to see why there would be a fuss.
   59. Brian C Posted: September 08, 2021 at 11:09 PM (#6038862)
The idea that the U.S. was more regimented and restrictive on behavior than Japan in the 1930's is pretty wack-a-loon.

I dunno, this seems like just a case of stranger in a strange land, no? Japan's customs at the time would have seemed totally normal to someone who lived with them and took them for granted, and conversely, almost everything seems exaggerated when you're immersed in a culture you're unfamiliar with. Seems just as likely that if an American had said something like that about Japan, Japanese audiences would have been like, "huh what?"
   60. Addie Joss Posted: September 09, 2021 at 12:01 AM (#6038866)
Lloyd Waner had just a 99 OPS+.
   61. Walt Davis Posted: September 09, 2021 at 12:10 AM (#6038868)
I would have no problem with the HoF forming a committee to spend a couple of years perusing international baseball history to find a handful of players who were (likely) good enough to be stars in MLB similar to how the NeL committees worked. I'd imagine that would be Oh, a few other Japanese players, some Cubans ... and that might be it. I would prefer not to have one that inducts some Australian because his Aussie league stats bear resemblance to Paul Waner's. Therefore it also needs to be time-limited from the start so in 20 years they aren't sitting there saying "we gotta elect somebody this year, have we done Italy yet?"
   62. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 09, 2021 at 01:08 AM (#6038877)
I’m sure the Japanese tourists will love it when you tell them that only a handful of their players throughout history were as good as Harold Baines. They’ll be clamoring to visit...

I’m being a bit facetious, but there are ways that something like that could go badly.
   63. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 09, 2021 at 01:12 AM (#6038878)
there is a large outlet mall at least an hour north of Manhattan that gets something like one-third of its annual retail revenues from Asian tourists who take buses to see a little scenery and then shop til they drop.

Probably a lot more Chinese than Japanese tourists. I think NY gets 3-4x as many tourists from China than it does from Japan, or at least that was the case pre-COVID.
   64. dejarouehg Posted: September 09, 2021 at 08:28 AM (#6038886)
In the few times I've been to Cooperstown, I haven't noticed any Asian tourists. It is a bit of a schlep from any major tourist location. I suspect this will change significantly when Ichiro is inducted.

I'm opposed to anything that makes Cooperstown more like Springfield. What a lousy HoF (!), and I say that even though every time I go to the Baseball HoF, I'm a little disappointed. (If only they made all the artifacts that they don't display available it would be great.)

However, compared to Springfield, Cooperstown has it beat on every level.* The over-the-top inclusiveness of the NBA HoF makes it feel so watered down. As much as baseball has its Mazeroski's and Baines,' I still feel it does a really good job of maintaining its uniqueness.

I didn't RTFA as the title reeks of "wokeness" to me, but I'd be surprised if there was never an acknowledgement of Oh's accomplishments (maybe they did in 74?) or some of the other foreign players who were pioneers. I'd find a tribute to Oh more appealing than the display about 1890 baseball.

*Ironically, though Football is my least favorite sport, I found their HoF oddly appealing. Maybe because I only spent less than 90 minutes there on my way to the Jake, and a quick tour of the busts was pretty cool. (Talk about overly inclusive though!) Those busts were much more impressive than the plaques in Cooperstown.







   65. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 09, 2021 at 11:21 AM (#6038903)
59 makes a good point. Also remember that Japan in the 30s was extraordinarily nationalistic. Wouldn't be much of a surprise if some of that rubbed off on a 19 year old kid (or 20 or whatever, anyways he was young). That kind of background may well lead you to find foreign customs even more oppressive than you would otherwise.
   66. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: September 10, 2021 at 04:01 PM (#6039062)
I really like the Naismith Hall of Fame and its criteria of "If you made a 10+ hour Ken Burns documentary about basketball, including the college game, the women's game, and the international game, is this a name you'd expect to be mentioned?"

I mean, yes, it does mean that "Is this person a Hall of Famer?" is a much tougher question to analyze because there are multiple sets of standards simultaneously at play, but it does also prompt you to explore the Olympic or EuroLeague history of a player you remember as "just a guy" in the NBA.

I don't necessarily want Cooperstown to follow in its footsteps, but I enjoy what it is and why it's that way.
   67. Zach Posted: September 10, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6039076)
I just don't see how you could get an American voting pool that would be remotely qualified to vote for Japenese players. Forget about filling out a ten name ballot -- I don't think I could name ten Japanese Hall of Famers.

Maybe the best solution would be to reach a reciprocal recognition arrangement with the Japanese HOF.
   68. SoSH U at work Posted: September 10, 2021 at 05:17 PM (#6039079)
I just don't see how you could get an American voting pool that would be remotely qualified to vote for Japenese players. Forget about filling out a ten name ballot -- I don't think I could name ten Japanese Hall of Famers.


I don't think this is an obstacle. You would appoint a committee that actually did know, much the same way the 2006 Negro League induction was handled. You wouldn't rely on the BBWAA or existing Vet's committee.
   69. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 10, 2021 at 05:59 PM (#6039088)
I just don't see how you could get an American voting pool that would be remotely qualified to vote for Japenese players. Forget about filling out a ten name ballot -- I don't think I could name ten Japanese Hall of Famers.


I hope this doesn't come across as snarky - it's not meant that way at all, but here are ten Japanese Hall-of-Famers that hard core baseball fans should be aware of. This is a list of Japan's all-time ten best players, in order, compiled by Jim Albright, who knows what he's talking about. The list was complied about 15 years ago, so more recent players aren't included, but for the purpose of this list that's OK. These are the legacy players that non-NPB fans might enjoy learning more about. Having Nomura at #2 makes sense, even if he's not as well known as some others - a CATCHER who was five-time MVP, hit 657 home runs, led the league in home runs nine times, and won a Triple Crown is an extraordinarily useful player. And yes, one of these players was Russian.

Sadaharu Oh
Katsuya Nomura
Shigeo Nagashima
Isao Harimoto
Masaichi Kaneda
Victor Starffin
Hiromitsu Ochiai
Kazuhiro Yamauchi
Kazuhisa Inao
Koji Yamamoto
   70. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: September 10, 2021 at 06:34 PM (#6039094)
Not everyone is deeply obsessed with Japanese baseball/culture/pop music/etc. Sorry.
   71. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 10, 2021 at 06:51 PM (#6039098)
Also remember that Japan in the 30s was extraordinarily nationalistic. Wouldn't be much of a surprise if some of that rubbed off on a 19 year old kid....


yes. For Godsakes, Japan was very militant and Xenophobic or whatever and so his comments should probably be read in that light.

Pre WW II Japan aside, its hard to imagine a foreigner playing an American sport and then being upset he's being inducted into an American HOF. THat just doesnt stack up does it?
   72. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 10, 2021 at 07:07 PM (#6039100)
Pre WW II Japan aside, its hard to imagine a foreigner playing an American sport and then being upset he's being inducted into an American HOF. THat just doesnt stack up does it?

I don’t think anyone said they’d be upset (Although I’m not sure how they would react to your characterization of baseball as an “American sport”.) But would they actually care? Do American players care that they’re not in the Japanese HOF? All of this smacks of a solution to a nonexistent problem.
   73. Zach Posted: September 10, 2021 at 07:18 PM (#6039106)
I don't think this is an obstacle. You would appoint a committee that actually did know, much the same way the 2006 Negro League induction was handled. You wouldn't rely on the BBWAA or existing Vet's committee.

If you're going to do that, why not just take the Japanese HOF's word for it? There's a Japanese HOF and an American HOF, and both Halls recognize each others' selections as legitimate hall of famers.
   74. SoSH U at work Posted: September 10, 2021 at 08:30 PM (#6039117)
I don’t think anyone said they’d be upset (Although I’m not sure how they would react to your characterization of baseball as an “American sport”.) But would they actually care? Do American players care that they’re not in the Japanese HOF? All of this smacks of a solution to a nonexistent problem.


First of all, no one said there's a problem. I think the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the original hall where the sport was founded and where the best baseball in the world has historically been played, should recognize the great non-MLB players in some fashion. I think it would be good for the Hall, both as an institution, as well as for business.

Perhaps it's induction, perhaps its with a Spink/Frick like award, where one international great is honored every year. The details aren't that important to me. I think the Hall was made better when it expanded beyond MLB and included all of the Negro League greats (and honestly, you could substitute Negro Leaguers for Japanese players in your comment above, but I'm guessing you're perfectly fine with their presence in the Hall, as opposed to the strenuous objections you seem to have about the NBHoF honoring the Japanese greats), and think it would be improved by expanding its reach beyond our borders as well.

As to whether they care. In my experience, people like getting honored, and they like it when people say nice stuff about them. I would assume the Japanese greats aren't too different on that count.
   75. cardsfanboy Posted: September 10, 2021 at 09:55 PM (#6039134)
First of all, no one said there's a problem. I think the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the original hall where the sport was founded and where the best baseball in the world has historically been played, should recognize the great non-MLB players in some fashion. I think it would be good for the Hall, both as an institution, as well as for business.

Perhaps it's induction, perhaps its with a Spink/Frick like award, where one international great is honored every year. The details aren't that important to me. I think the Hall was made better when it expanded beyond MLB and included all of the Negro League greats (and honestly, you could substitute Negro Leaguers for Japanese players in your comment above, but I'm guessing you're perfectly fine with their presence in the Hall, as opposed to the strenuous objections you seem to have about the NBHoF honoring the Japanese greats), and think it would be improved by expanding its reach beyond our borders as well.

As to whether they care. In my experience, people like getting honored, and they like it when people say nice stuff about them. I would assume the Japanese greats aren't too different on that count.


Have to agree with everything on the quoted part. There is nothing I disagree with here. So if this was Facebook, this is me liking this post.
   76. Szym Posted: September 10, 2021 at 11:27 PM (#6039160)
Honestly, the Hall isn't even good at organizing special committees for *American* baseball, so we have a Hall of Fame with Bowie Kuhn, Jack Morris, and everybody Frankie Frisch ever met.
   77. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: September 11, 2021 at 06:24 AM (#6039167)
It's the National Baseball Hall of Fame, not International. A wing recognizing immortals from other countries' baseball leagues would be great. The Negro Leagues (maybe the only acceptable time a white person should use that word) has been rightly designated a major league in this country and induction of greats from that league seems correct. I don't think any of the other leagues qualify at all, therefore a formal induction (especially of an international player into a national hall of fame to boot) doesn't seem correct. Are there any MLB players in other countries' baseball HOFs for what they accomplished in our MLB?
   78. cardsfanboy Posted: September 11, 2021 at 10:31 AM (#6039181)
It's the National Baseball Hall of Fame, not International.


Expanding the purview of something is not a bad thing.
   79. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2021 at 11:36 AM (#6039184)
#74 is a good post.

I'll preface this post by saying that just because I'm raising practical questions, it doesn't mean I disagree with your fundamental premise. I think it would be good for the NBHOF to include more information on baseball overseas, to the extent it doesn't do so already. That should naturally include recognition of great foreign players in some way.

I also think that non-US play should be considered in an MLB player's HOF case. For example, if Ichiro had retired after 10 years in MLB, he would have been on the cusp of a HOF career just based on his MLB stats, but he would be an obvious HOFer when taking into account his full career including NPB. If this fictional Ichiro had played his entire career in the US, he certainly would have been a HOFer.

I have mixed feelings about actually inducting players from overseas who likely wouldn't have made the HOF if they had played their whole careers in the US. Nomo is a good example -- his MLB career doesn't really indicate that he would have been a HOFer if he had started off here. Guys like Hideki Matsui and Yu Darvish may have a more credible case. Would Japanese players and fans be happy if only a few of their greats were inducted into Cooperstown, or would they be upset that the NBHOF wasn't recognizing many of their best players (this becomes an even bigger question in places like South Korea and Taiwan)? I don't know, but like I said I could see ways that going down the full induction route could end up creating some backlash rather than being regarded as a universal positive.

But like I said, some recognition would be a good thing, particularly if it results in better appreciation of the world game among US fans and vice versa.
   80. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 11, 2021 at 12:10 PM (#6039186)
Oh's step would be considered extreme even by today's standards.

True, but Mel Ott's step was almost identical to Oh's.
First of all, no one said there's a problem. I think the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the original hall where the sport was founded and where the best baseball in the world has historically been played, should recognize the great non-MLB players in some fashion. I think it would be good for the Hall, both as an institution, as well as for business.

Perhaps it's induction, perhaps its with a Spink/Frick like award, where one international great is honored every year. The details aren't that important to me. I think the Hall was made better when it expanded beyond MLB and included all of the Negro League greats (and honestly, you could substitute Negro Leaguers for Japanese players in your comment above, but I'm guessing you're perfectly fine with their presence in the Hall, as opposed to the strenuous objections you seem to have about the NBHoF honoring the Japanese greats), and think it would be improved by expanding its reach beyond our borders as well.

As to whether they care. In my experience, people like getting honored, and they like it when people say nice stuff about them. I would assume the Japanese greats aren't too different on that count.

Have to agree with everything on the quoted part. There is nothing I disagree with here. So if this was Facebook, this is me liking this post.

Same here.

   81. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 11, 2021 at 01:01 PM (#6039189)
I'll push back on one thing in SoSH's post: The comparison of Negro League players with Japanese players is ill-considered, and even a little offensive.
   82. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 11, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6039194)

First of all, no one said there's a problem.


I was responding to this:

But it's not hard to imagine that some or possibly most might be indifferent or even hostile to the idea.
   83. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2021 at 02:21 PM (#6039207)

#82, he was responding to my post where I said "All of this smacks of a solution to a nonexistent problem."
   84. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 11, 2021 at 02:36 PM (#6039210)
Expanding the purview of something is not a bad thing.
Expanding something beyond its original purpose isn’t necessarily a good thing. The NACAR Hall of Fame doesn’t include Formula 1 Drivers, nor is there any reason for it to attempt to usurp the role of those directly involved in that aspect of the sport of automobile racing.
   85. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 11, 2021 at 03:23 PM (#6039223)
Oops, hit the wall in #84, which should read “NASCAR”.
   86. sunday silence (again) Posted: September 11, 2021 at 05:54 PM (#6039245)
83. OK. thanks.
   87. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 12, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6039334)
there is a large outlet mall at least an hour north of Manhattan that gets something like one-third of its annual retail revenues from Asian tourists who take buses to see a little scenery and then shop til they drop.

Probably a lot more Chinese than Japanese tourists. I think NY gets 3-4x as many tourists from China than it does from Japan, or at least that was the case pre-COVID.


Ah, Woodbury Commons. It's about a mile away from where I used to live; it's about a 20-minute drive from where I live now. Haven't been there in years.

I do remember that the Commons had street signs in Japanese, not Chinese.

Nomura (was) a CATCHER who was five-time MVP, hit 657 home runs, led the league in home runs nine times, and won a Triple Crown


Basically, take Yogi Berra and turn ten outs a year into home runs. (And like Yogi, he was a long-time manager.)
   88. Thok Posted: September 12, 2021 at 04:50 PM (#6039342)
If you asked 100 random American sports fans which Hall of Fame has inducted Arthur Trester, Jody Conradt, Arad McCutchen and Ernest Quigley, you'd be lucky if a single one would get it right.


It's actually somewhat surprising that Ernest Quigley isn't in the MLB Hall of Fame as an umpire. He has 3350 game as an umpire, with 1509 behind home plate (which makes him 10th all-time) and was an umpire for 6 World Series. I don't what the requirements for an MLB Hall of Fame umpire should be, but he seems to hit a lot of them.

He also was a referee in about 400 college football games as well, including a few Rose Bowls. So he's at least a three sport officiating threat.
   89. GregD Posted: September 13, 2021 at 02:52 AM (#6039384)
If you asked 100 random American sports fans which Hall of Fame has inducted Arthur Trester, Jody Conradt, Arad McCutchen and Ernest Quigley, you'd be lucky if a single one would get it right.
maybe idiosyncratic but to me McCutcheon is way easier than the others. The Evansville plane crash coming right as he retired made his prior career stand out to people who didn’t follow lower level hoops. Only among older people—I remember my dad talking about it. But he was a genuine name

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