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

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview

27

The players had Friday, November 30, off. Some, like Harold Warstler, slept in. Warstler awoke around ten, ate breakfast, and headed over to the Kodak store. There, he met Eric McNair and Lefty Gomez and viewed their pictures. Perhaps inspired by his teammates’ shots, Warstler spent the afternoon wandering the back streets of Tokyo, taking photographs. The players were on their own for dinner. Foxx, Warstler, and Bing Miller went to one of the few places in town that served American fare. After the meal the three took some pictures that would have made Moe Berg proud. A Japanese acquaintance— Warstler was not sure of his name but thought that he was with the mayoral office—invited the ballplayers to see a new Japanese cargo plane. The small group drove out to a nearby airfield where they were proudly shown one of the largest planes they had ever seen. The impressed Americans pulled out their cameras and snapped both still and movie footage for their albums.1

The All Americans woke up early on December 1, ready to play their last game on Japanese soil. They met in the lobby of the Imperial Hotel at nine for a brief meeting. Ruth got up from one of the hotel’s deep armchairs and addressed the team. “This will be the last game in Japan so we are going to have Suzuki as today’s manager.”2

Sotaro Suzuki swallowed hard, thanked Ruth for the honor, and promised to do his best. He could feel the butterflies start in his stomach. “What if I lose?” he thought. Sawamura would pitch for All Nippon, and Suzuki knew that the boy was determined to end the games with a win. The Americans were also tired and homesick. They would not be at their best. The responsibility was almost too much to bear.

The team boarded a bus to travel sixty miles north to the small city

-234-

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