Whiting honored by FSAJ

by Jack Gallagher

Best-selling writer Robert Whiting, author of such sporting classics as “You Gotta Have Wa,” “The Chrysanthemum and the Bat” and “The Meaning of Ichiro,” was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Foreign Sportswriters Association of Japan Media Awards dinner on Tuesday night in Tokyo.

News photoRobert Whiting, author of several acclaimed books on Japanese baseball, accepts his Lifetime Achievement Award at the Foreign Sportswriters Association of Japan Media Awards dinner.

Whiting, who has penned numerous articles over the years for the likes of The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Time and Newsweek, in addition to a long list of Japanese publications, recounted his first attempt at having a manuscript published for those in attendance at the event.

“Back in 1977, I had written ‘The Chrysanthemum and The Bat’ while living in New York and had it rejected by 13 different publishers. They told me, ‘There are two types of books that don’t sell — books about Japan and books about baseball. So you have two strikes against you.’

“Finally, on the 14th try, I found a publisher who took pity on me and that was the start of an incredible ride.”

Whiting attended the ceremony to help hand out the awards and was surprised with his own at the end of the evening.

“I want to thank the FSAJ very much for this honor. I think this organization is going to continue to grow in prestige as the years go by,” Whiting said.

Individual prizes were awarded to freelance writer Jeremy Walker, who writes a weekly column on Japanese soccer for The Japan Times, Jim Armstrong of The Associated Press and soccer specialist Michael Church, for their work in 2004.

Walker was chosen as the Best Writer, Armstrong named the Best Wire Reporter and Church selected as the Best Columnist by members of the FSAJ during voting in February.

The FSAJ is comprised of foreign members of the sports media in Japan and Japanese sports media working at English-language media outlets.