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

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview

20

With the royal receptions and fan enthusiasm, the All Americans must have been surprised to learn that tickets remained for the game on Saturday, November 17, at Meiji Jingu Stadium. To lure additional fans, Yomiuri announced that the All Americans would hold a home run contest prior to the game. The event would decide who was the greatest home run hitter—Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, or Earl Averill. Furthermore, burly slugger Jimmie Foxx would play all nine positions—one for each inning—during the course of the game, and Connie Mack would manage the All Nippon team.

The added events did little to boost attendance, as just thirty-two thousand showed up for Saturday’s game, the last contest scheduled in Tokyo. After batting and fielding practice, fans readied for the home run contest, some brandishing fishing nets to capture the flying balls. The rules were simple. Joe Cascarella would pitch two rounds to each batter, and prizes would be awarded to the player who hit the most and the longest home runs. Prior to the contest an announcement came over the loudspeakers instructing the fans not to catch the home runs so that the blasts could be measured accurately. Fans put away their nets and took off their baseball mitts, placing them on their heads for protection, as they were not allowed to touch the balls. Fittingly, the aging all-time home run king retained his crown. The Bambino blasted four over the outfield walls, including a 410-footer, to win both prizes. Averill finished second with three, Foxx third with two, and Gehrig, who had an off day, failed to hit one out.1

The contest merely warmed up the sluggers, as Ruth, Gehrig, and Foxx all went deep during the 15–6 rout of the All Nippon team. Much to everybody’s surprise, All Nippon took an early lead by

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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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