Irabu's impact on MLB-NPB relations profound

Oct 16, 2011

Irabu's impact on MLB-NPB relations profound

Hideki Irabu, once considered to be one of the best pitchers in the world, is dead, in what has been adjudged to be a suicide in late July. He led a troubled life, struggling with a mixed-race heritage, growing up not knowing his father, ...

Nomo's legacy should land him in Hall of Fame

Oct 24, 2010

Nomo's legacy should land him in Hall of Fame

Fourth in a four-part series It is doubtful that Hideo Nomo and Don Nomura realized the full significance of what they were doing back in 1995 when they defied Nippon Professional Baseball and migrated to the United States. But many of the changes that ...

Tireless work ethic earned Nomo respect in majors

Oct 17, 2010

Tireless work ethic earned Nomo respect in majors

Third in a four-part series Hideo Nomo’s most significant accomplishment may have been making the Japanese game respectable in the eyes of the rest of the world. Few Major League Baseball executives were interested when agent Don Nomura began to shop him to teams ...

Contract loophole opened door for Nomo's jump

Oct 10, 2010

Contract loophole opened door for Nomo's jump

Second in a four-part series Hideo Nomo was born to a working-class family in Osaka in 1969 — his father, Shizuo, was a big, broad-shouldered fisherman turned postal worker and his mother, Kayoko, a part-time supermarket employee. He was a naturally shy, taciturn youth ...

Nomo blazed trail, helped mend fences with move

Oct 3, 2010

Nomo blazed trail, helped mend fences with move

First in a four-part series The history of the Japan-America baseball relationship can be divided into two eras: Pre-Nomo and Post-Nomo. Younger readers may find it difficult to believe but before Hideo Nomo went to the United States to become a star for the ...

Enatsu's feats resonate years later

Aug 15, 2010

Enatsu's feats resonate years later

Nippon Professional Baseball recently released the results of an interesting survey of the greatest games and moments — regular season and postseason — in its history. Indeed, opinions will vary on which games should be on the list and how to rank those games ...

History, tradition helped to undermine Valentine

Feb 7, 2010

History, tradition helped to undermine Valentine

Fourth in a four-part series It was not exactly clear what Chiba Lotte Marines president Ryuzo Setoyama’s motives were, whether he was so frustrated that he really did intend to quit, or whether his threat to resign in 2008 was just a ploy to ...

Resentment of Valentine's power factored in downfall

Jan 31, 2010

Resentment of Valentine's power factored in downfall

Third in a four-part series There are many reasons why Bobby Valentine lost favor with the Chiba Lotte Marines organization. It wasn’t just his prohibitive salary ($5 million per year). In contrast to the foreign media covering Valentine in Japan, who liked to portray ...

Valentine's philosophy brought Marines glory, money

Jan 24, 2010

Valentine's philosophy brought Marines glory, money

Second in a four-part series Bobby Valentine was born and raised in Connecticut and was chosen one of the most outstanding high school athletes in the history of the state, in a survey by Sports Illustrated. He was recruited by the University of Southern ...

Clandestine campaign led to Valentine's demise

Jan 17, 2010

Clandestine campaign led to Valentine's demise

First in a four-part series It was just about the time that Chiba Lotte Marines acting owner Akio Shigemitsu declared that Bobby Valentine could run his team “for life” that things began to go sour. Until then, the former Texas Rangers and New York ...