#Hot Corner

The history of Japanese players in Major League Baseball in less than 2 minutes

Harry How

MLB Productions has put together this delightful montage of Japanese players in the majors, beginning with some little-seen footage of Masanori Murakami, the first (and for many years only) Japanese-born major leaguer:


I think it's fair to suggest that every infusion of "new" talent has made Major League Baseball significantly more interesting. The great black players of the 1950s and '60s brought a dynamism of their own. The great Latino players of the 1950s and '60s (and beyond) brought a flair of their own. And the great Japanese players have done the same, most especially Hideo Nomo and Ichiro Suzuki.

This shouldn't be surprising. Major League Baseball has represented the Establishment for more than a century, and those players who grew up aspiring to join the Establishment were typically trained to do things as they'd been established. But the kids in the black neighborhoods in the 1940s and '50s, the kids in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the kids in Japan ... most of them probably didn't grow up wanting to be Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle or Nolan Ryan. They had their own heroes, and their heroes found different ways to play.

Which is fortunate for the rest of us.

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