Category Archives: History

articles about Japanese baseball history

Mr. Nemoto’s mystery tour

There was an interesting story last month about Rikuo Nemoto, one of Japan’s most cunning executives, who for a while was one of the few people to create any kind of team dynasty since the introduction of the draft leveled the playing field somewhat.

The story, published in Nikkan Sports, talks about how in the autumn of 1994, Nemoto managed to secure his top draft target, slugging catcher Kenji Jojima, without the hassle of having to deal with Japan’s ubiquitous draft day lottery for marquee amateurs coveted by several teams.

The story is a nice summary of the superficial story, with enough additional information thrown in to imply to the reader that the story spelled out is not quite the whole story.

I dug into it because, I’ve heard a number of stories about Nemoto, and his various talents, and expected to find some nugget I hadn’t heard, but instead, we get a story which looks like the writer wanted to be able to deny he suggested any under-handed dealing by Nemoto, while pretty much doing just that.

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Oh, Matsui and Murakami

There was an interesting post on Twitter Saturday, which just begged for verification. It questioned whether Munetaka Murakami should be considered Japan’s best young home run hitter ever, since the conditions in which the Swallows star has hit his home runs are quite different from those faced by Sadaharu Oh and Hideki Matsui.

Conditions are always in flux, offhand I would agree with this post about Oh, the early part of Matsui’s career was a fairly normal era for home run production. The perception that Matsui hit in a “mini dead-ball era” is created by the switch to Mizuno’s rabbit ball by the Giants, Dragons and BayStars toward the end of his time in Japan.

The same thing probably led Robert Whiting to recently declare Wladimir Balentien’s 60 home runs to have taken place with a lively ball in place. The ball wasn’t particularly lively that year, but it was normal compared to the soft ball used the previous two seasons.

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