Gail Hopkins, the first baseman on the 1975 Hiroshima Carp Central League championship team, returned to Japan last month for some business and reminiscing about his days with the team.

Old-timers will remember Hopkins and Richie Scheinblum were recruited to play for the Carp by then-manager American Joe Lutz and, after Lutz resigned a month into the '75 season, the two American players went on to become fan favorites as they helped Hiroshima win its first Central League pennant.

Hopkins, batting fifth, formed a potent cleanup trio with superstars Koji Yamamoto and Sachio Kinugasa.