Whenever the Yomiuri Giants were scheduled to play at home, I knew my phone would ring.

"Are you going to Tokyo Dome?" Wayne Graczyk would ask. He wanted to know how many seats to keep free in the press box and how many doughnuts he should buy at Mister Donut, and later Krispy Kreme, to bring with him down the Sobu Line from Kichijoji. He'd pass the doughnuts out to some around him in the press box. All this was unprompted, it was just Wayne doing something nice for others, which he often did.

Sadly, that familiar call I got from him last week will be the last time I hear his voice on the other end of the line. Wayne, who in his 40-plus years in Japan became a cornerstone of the English-language coverage of Japanese baseball, passed away at the age of 68 overnight Tuesday in Kumamoto. He leaves behind his family, wife Yoshiko and children Randall and Gayle, and an extended network of friends, colleagues and those who knew him through his column, the Baseball Bullet-in.