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

By Robert K. Fitts | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

There are many good restaurants in Tokyo. One can get delicious traditional Japanese fare, exquisite European fine dining, or exotic tastes from around the world, but the idea for this book was born in one of the worst. It served vegetarian meals favored by Buddhist monks and the rock-hard, tasteless dishes must have been part of their penance. I gathered there with members of the Tokyo Chapter of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) in October 2003 to discuss a groupwide research project for the Asian Baseball Research Committee. After much discussion, little actual eating, and not enough beer, the group decided to focus on the 1934 All American tour of Japan—an event that changed Japanese baseball and achieved legendary status among baseball fans in the United States. Personally, I had little enthusiasm for the project, as my interests lay in the postwar period. Several members investigated the topic for a few weeks, but their interest soon died and the project was scrapped. But the initial newspaper articles collected by SABR members Takao Hanyu and Hiroo Maki started me thinking.

Four years later, I decided to revisit the topic. I soon discovered that the 1934 tour was about more than baseball. The story contained diplomacy, espionage, infidelity, attempted murder, and an attempt to overthrow the Japanese government. Now hooked, I decided to recount the tale for American baseball fans. Many people on both sides of the Pacific helped me complete this project. I would like to thank them here.

To begin with, I need to thank the SABR members present at the initial meeting in 2003 and Ann Fabian, who spurred me to begin the book and also introduced me to my agent, Wendy Strothman. Wendy patiently guided me through several proposal drafts and pushed me

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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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