Editorial: Awards for 2 Baseball Legends a Cause for Celebration

Article excerpt

"Mr. Pro Baseball" and "Godzilla" will simultaneously be given an award. This is glad tidings for spring, the start of the professional baseball season.

The government decided Monday to grant the People's Honor Award to Shigeo Nagashima, the Yomiuri Giants' honorary lifetime manager, and Hideki Matsui, a former slugger for the Giants and New York Yankees.

Both players have made shining achievements and contributed greatly to the development of Japanese pro baseball. Both are widely loved in Japan. Everyone would surely agree they deserve this award for these reasons.

We congratulate both men on being selected for this prestigious accolade.

Sadaharu Oh and Sachio Kinugasa are the only other pro baseball players who have won this award. The names of Oh and Nagashima--Yomiuri teammates whose feats formed the cornerstone of pro Japanese baseball--will now sit alongside each other in the records of the award.

'Mr. Baseball' the mentor...

Nagashima has of course made a remarkable contribution to the development of pro baseball as a national sport. Nagashima spell-bound fans with a number of memorable performances, including a game-ending home run in 1959 at the first game attended by the Emperor.

Many children began playing baseball after being inspired by Nagashima and his uniform with the number "3" on the back.

Nagashima's constant cheerfulness also greatly contributed to his tremendous popularity.

During his retirement ceremony following his final game in 1974, Nagashima told the crowd, "My Giants are eternally indestructible." Old-time baseball fans still speak of this moment.

During his managerial career at the Giants from 1974 to 1980 and from 1992 until 2001, his team won the Central League pennant five times and the Japan Series twice. …