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

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview

24

Sawamura’s pitching masterpiece gave All Nippon confidence as the two teams embarked on an eight-day, six-game junket of southern Japan. Their one-thousand-mile journey included stops in Nagoya, Osaka, Kokura, and Kyoto.

There was little to do on the long train rides. To the amusement of the Japanese sportswriters, the Americans passed the time playing cards and drinking. The private cars contained well-stocked bars, and the Babe took full advantage of the whiskey and Japanese beer, which he declared the best he had ever tasted. It was Earl Averill, however, who astounded his hosts with the amount that he could, and did, drink. But not all the travelers were thrilled with the refreshments. Julia Ruth recalled that while there was plenty of alcohol, their hosts had neglected other beverages. Not a beer drinker, Julia remembers being parched, wishing for a glass of water, as the train whizzed by terraced rice paddies, mountains, and villages.1 Moe Berg most likely followed his usual routine of carrying a suitcase full of newspapers to read on the train. Current issues of his usual papers from the United States, Britain, and France were hard to find in Tokyo, but the Japan Times, Japan Advertiser, Mainichi Daily News, and Japan Chronicle would have kept him abreast of the local and international news.

The team arrived in Nagoya, Japan’s fourth-largest city with 989,000 inhabitants, on November 21. Known as a friendly, easy city in contrast to the bustling and businesslike atmosphere of Tokyo or the gruff, gritty life in industrial Osaka, Nagoya was the center of Japanese textiles, lacquerware, and porcelain production. The regional accent was, according to a popular travel guide published earlier in the year, “the best language in which to make love.” The

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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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