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

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview
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31

Jimmy Horio was just wiping the sleep from his eyes when they came. Eighty-one dive-bombers and twenty-seven torpedo bombers rounded Diamond Head, sped past Horio’s home in Kaimuki, and hit the base at Pearl Harbor. They were the second wave. The first had attacked at 7:48 a.m., catching the base by surprise. The destruction was devastating—2,386 American servicemen dead, 1,139 wounded, and eighteen ships, including five battleships, sunk or run aground. The war that Connie Mack swore would never happen had begun.

From his backyard Jimmy watched the black smoke rising to the west. He stared in disbelief and sadness. He could not understand why Japan would start a war it could not possibly win. His thoughts probably turned to his father and brother, who were still living in Hiroshima. What would become of them?

So much had happened since he had played for the Japanese against Babe Ruth in 1934. After the attack on Shoriki, the Dai Nippon Tokyo Yakyu Club came to the United States as planned in the spring of 1935. They stayed for 118 days, playing 109 games during a 13,770-mile trek across thirteen states and four Canadian provinces. It did not take long for Lefty O’Doul to insist that the team change its name. Dai Nippon Tokyo Yakyu Club was too cumbersome, especially for Americans. Instead, he suggested “Tokyo Giants.” Sotaro Suzuki, acting as the traveling secretary, agreed, and the nickname of Japan’s most famous club was created.

The Giants did well against collegiate and amateur teams, winning 72 and losing just 14. They fared less well against the Pacific Coast League AA teams, losing 17 of the 23 contests. But at times they shone. On March 13 Eiji Sawamura shut out the Yankees AA farm club, the Oakland Oaks, 2–0 while holding them to just four

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