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June 22, 2006

Comments

Mark A

Larry Gaines and Jonas Rainer are pictured and mentioned in the March 19, 1953 Jet magazine as having signed with the Hankyu Braves club.

Mischa Gelman

I had thought that the idea that Negro League players inspired the Japanese Professional Baseball League was pretty common, but looking back, all the sources point to Sayama. If he's the only one who proposed the notion, it might not be as widespread as I had presumed.

Gary Garland

While I haven't read Sayama's book (which I've added to my list of future purchases), I have read other Japanese baseball histories in Japanese and none of them mention the Royal Giants as having any influence on the creation of the Japanese pro league at all. Corporate league ball goes back further than pro baseball in Japan and college baseball was extremely popular for decades before Matsutaro Shoriki and others organized what we know as NPB today. There were at least two other attempts to organize pro teams before the Tokyo Giants, but the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 resulted in the Japanese government seizing that team's ballpark to use as a disaster relief center (essentially) and that did the pro team in financially and it disbanded.

What I would like to see more information on is Saperstein's dealings with the Japanese pros. I have seen only the most sketchy info about that in Japanese (he apparently scouted for them part time) and I have only read a few books on the Negro Leagues and none of them go into the Japan issue at all.

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