Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, & Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview

9

The Empress of Japan left port just in time. The downpour that had ruined the game on October 19 intensified into a gale. It came from the southwest, battering Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver with driving rain and winds up to eighty-three miles per hour. A cyclone smashed into downtown Vancouver, tearing signs, streetlights, and awnings from their ties, hurling them through plate-glass windows. In Washington State, the storm killed twenty-one and injured more than one hundred. Although the Empress of Japan had escaped, the transpacific ocean liner SS President Madison was less fortunate. Docked at Pier 41 in Seattle, the winds severed the ship’s moorings before driving the 535-foot liner into the sternwheeler Harvester. The collision failed to slow the 14,124-ton President Madison, which next slammed into the freighter North Haven and several smaller vessels as the Harvester sank.1

Out at sea huge waves pounded the Empress, rocking it wildly. At 26,033 tons, the massive ocean liner was in little danger, but many passengers felt that death was imminent. The roars of the wind woke Stuart Bell in his deck cabin at five thirty in the morning. The sports editor of the Cleveland Press opened his porthole and stuck out his head to investigate. Squinting through rain and spray, Bell watched seamen rush to secure the lifeboats as waves crashed over the side of the seven-deck ship. The Empress rolled to port, sending Bell’s trunk scurrying across the small cabin. The writer closed the porthole and captured the sliding trunk. As he bent to close the top, his typewriter plummeted off the table, just missing his head. With both sleep and the ability to write nearly impossible, Bell dressed and stumbled through the pitching corridors to the opulent first-class dining room for an early breakfast. The cavernous room stretched

-65-

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Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, & Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Recurring Japanese Characters ix
  • Prologue xiii
  • Part 1 - "When I Say I’Ll Do Something, I Bet My Life on It." 1
  • 1 3
  • 2 12
  • 3 22
  • 4 31
  • 5 34
  • 6 39
  • 7 43
  • 8 55
  • 9 65
  • Part 2 - "Babe Ruth… Is a Great Deal More Effective Ambassador Than I Could Ever Be." 83
  • 10 85
  • 11 88
  • 12 98
  • 13 104
  • 14 113
  • 15 120
  • 16 131
  • 17 137
  • 18 142
  • Part 3 - "The Japanese Are Equal to the Americans in Strength of Spirit." 179
  • 19 181
  • 20 183
  • 21 196
  • 22 198
  • 23 208
  • 24 210
  • Part 4 - "There Will Be No War between the United States and Japan." 219
  • 25 221
  • 26 229
  • 27 234
  • 28 240
  • 29 249
  • Part 5 - "To Hell with Babe Ruth!" 259
  • 30 261
  • 31 266
  • 32 271
  • 33 281
  • 34 284
  • 35 293
  • Appendix 1- The All American Touring Party 299
  • Appendix 2- Tour Batting and Pitching Statistics 301
  • Appendix 3- Tour Game Line Scores 303
  • Acknowledgments 307
  • Notes 311
  • Bibliography 325
  • Index 335
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