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

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview

15

The following day, November 6, the players would leave for northern Japan from Ueno Station on the 2:35 p.m. express sleeper train. That left Tuesday morning open for shopping, sightseeing, or free time in Tokyo. For the Babe that meant tee time. Among the Ruths’ twenty pieces of luggage were his golf clubs. He was an avid golfer and a good one with a three handicap. Ambassador Grew brought Ruth and Lefty O’Doul to the Tokyo Golf Club, where they were joined by the club’s pro. For fourteen holes they talked baseball and a little golf, as cameramen pursued the Babe across the course. Although not a big baseball fan, Grew enjoyed the players’ stories and perked up when Ruth revealed that the secret to hitting well in golf and baseball was identical—a nice, easy swing. If one tried to hit either ball too hard, one was likely to move one’s head and take one’s eyes off the ball. After the game the men sat on the clubhouse steps to pose for photographers and the newsreel cameras. They finished the morning with a light drink. Grew and O’Doul sipped beers, while the Babe quenched his thirst by gulping down a “boilermaker’s highball… followed immediately by a whole glass of beer in almost one gulp.” Grew noted in his diary that night, “All Japan has gone wild over him. He is a great deal more effective Ambassador than I could ever be.”1

As the Americans enjoyed their free morning, the All Nippon team received bad, but not unexpected, news. The Ministry of Education announced that high schooler Eiji Sawamura and Waseda student Isamu Fuma would be expelled for playing against the All Americans. Hiraku Iwahara, head of the athletic section of the Ministry of Education, informed the president of Waseda that “the Education Office cannot tolerate students taking part in games against professionals, … and that two courses are open. One is to let Fuma leave school

-120-

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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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