Wezen-Ball: Writing About Japanese Baseball 30 Years Ago

Well, actually 31 years ago. But what’s a spare year among friends. And Larry “Wezen-Ball” Granillo is a friend who somehow knows just where and how to dig into baseball’s rich journalistic history. This time around, he’s been inspired by Yu Darvish to see what we thought about Japanese baseball players, before we knew how well they could play

It’s been over 15 years since Hideo Nomo treated us to his version of Fernando-mania and more than ten since Ichiro became only the second player ever to win the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards in the same year. The success of others who have followed in Nomo’s and Ichiro’s footsteps has varied, but by now the NPB-to-MLB transition is commonplace, if not entirely predictable. Thirty years ago, however, it was a very different story.

For me, actually, the takeaway is that “walk-off home run” should be replaced, immediately and by fiat if necessary, by “sayanora home run”. But of course there’s plenty more.

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