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

By Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu | Go to book overview

6
SPARTAN LEAGUES

When Japanese troops in north China became implicated in the Marco Paulo Bridge Incident in July 1937, a full-scale war began between Japan and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist China. As Japan mobilized for war, a Japanese tour by Pacific Coast League all-stars scheduled for the fall, O’Doul’s brainchild, had to be canceled. Activities in amateur baseball similarly suffered. A year after the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Tokyo was forced to forgo its right to host the 1940 Olympic Games, and consequently IABF’s planning for a “World Baseball Tournament” in 1940 had to be aborted. Plans for a U.S.-Japanese amateur “World Series” in Tokyo (1937) and Honolulu (1939) similarly became the casualty of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Leslie Mann and his fellow amateur baseball boosters in Miami had to content themselves with a geographically contained “World Series,” which took place in London in 1938. Mann’s AllAmericans played five games against the British team composed mainly of Canadian college players. The Americans won only one game. The IABF would host three more “world championships” in the Caribbean region, the first one in Cuba (1939) among the United States, Cuba, and Nicaragua and the second one in Puerto Rico (1940), with the United States, Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico as participants. Cuba emerged victorious on both occasions. The last prewar “world amateur championship” took place in Puerto Rico in 1942, with nine teams participating. This time, Venezuela won and Team USA finished a humiliating sixth. It had become embarrassingly clear that American amateurs could no longer hold a candle to their Caribbean brethren and that the reservoir of the best amateur talent now existed south of the Gulf of Mexico shorelines.1

Curiously, during the four years leading up to that fateful seventh day

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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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