Transpacific Field of Dreams: How Baseball Linked the United States and Japan in Peace and War

By Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu | Go to book overview

8
THE SEARCH
FOR POSTWAR
ORDER

In the early postwar seasons, the chaos that often accompanies a new business enterprise afflicted Japanese professional baseball, where codified business rules were almost nonexistent. Player raiding and contract jumping were rampant, just as they had been in American professional baseball until the National Agreement of 1903 etched the rules of enterprise in granite. By 1949, the self-professed guardians of Japanese baseball in SCAP became seriously concerned by the Japanese pro league’s unstable business environment and self-destructive internal strife. General Marquat and Cappy Harada firmly believed in the supremacy and universal relevance of the American model and pushed for its application to Japan. In the business of baseball, that meant a two-league structure stabilized by the player “reserve clause” and an independent commissioner to adjudicate disputes among clubs.

It just so happened that their agenda perfectly dovetailed with the personal interests of the stalwart of prewar Japanese professional baseball, Shōriki Matsutarō, who was angling to reinsert himself into the professional baseball enterprise that had dared survive in the early postwar transition without him. On February 23, 1949, the Japanese Baseball Association, under Marquat’s instruction, created the office of baseball commissioner and appointed Shōriki, still the owner of the Tokyo Giants, to take up the position. Immediately afterward, however, Marquat encountered an angry protest from the director of SCAP’s Government Section, Courtney Whitney. A committed New Dealer and a force behind the drafting of Japan’s postwar pacifist constitution, Whitney had frequently locked horns with groups within SCAP that promoted or condoned the backsliding of American reform efforts in the “reverse course.” Whitney’s determined opposition to the appointment of Shōriki, a man still banned

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Transpacific Field of Dreams: How Baseball Linked the United States and Japan in Peace and War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Pacific Crossings 11
  • 2 - Colonial Baseball 40
  • 3 - Leagues of Their Own 75
  • 4 - The Business of Baseball 109
  • 5 - Empires of Fun and Games 140
  • 6 - Spartan Leagues 172
  • 7 - A Field of New Dreams 199
  • 8 - The Search for Postwar Order 225
  • Epilogue 242
  • Notes 246
  • Selected Bibliography 286
  • Index 306
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