Masanori Murakami was a 19-year-old pitcher for the Nankai Hawks when the club sent him to the San Francisco Giants’ Single-A team as part of an exchange program in 1964. The Giants liked what they saw and extended the left-hander’s stay. San Francisco called him up to the top team late in the season and Murakami, then 20, became Japan’s first MLB player on Sept. 1, 1964.

Murakami, who appeared in 45 games for the club in 1965, did not want to return to Japan but was obligated to after the season. Murakami, who turns 80 on May 6, is an indelible part of the long history between Japan and the U.S. on the baseball diamond. His experience paved the way for future players from Japan like Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki and current two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Murakami’s story, and those of other Japanese players who went abroad and of Americans who played in Japan, will be part of a new exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, next year, Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch announced at the residence of the United States ambassador to Japan in Tokyo on Thursday.