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Remembering Japanese Baseball:
An Oral History of the Game

 2005 - Southern Illinois University Press

Winner of the 2005
Society of American Baseball Research 
& The Sporting News Award for Best Baseball Research

Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game transports us onto diamonds and into dugouts on the other side of the globe, where the vigorous sportsmanship of the game and the impassioned devotion of its fans transcend cultural and geographic borders and prove that baseball is fast becoming an international pastime.

Called Yakyu, baseball has been played in Japan since the 1890s but has only recently gained a substantial global following. Robert K. Fitts chronicles the nation’s distinctive version of the sport as recounted by twenty-five of its players. Fitts’s careful choice of subjects represents the experiences of a mix of American and Japanese players—including stars, titleholders, and members of the Japanese Hall of Fame. Informal, candid, and remarkably specific, these recollections describe teammates and opponents, corporate owners and loyal fans, triumphs and frustrations, collectively capturing all the spirit and emotion engendered by the game from decidedly personal vantage points. Throughout, readers glimpse the unique traits of baseball in Japan and discern how the game has evolved since its inception as well as how it differs from its American counterpart.

An unparalleled introduction for an American audience, Remembering Japanese Baseball is augmented by photos of its twenty-five interviewees and a timeline demarking milestone moments in the game’s Japanese history. Robert Whiting, author of You Gotta Have Wa! and The Meaning of Ichiro, provides the foreword.

Featuring the Narratives of:


"A compelling read."  

Roberta Newman, Nine

"A fun and interesting read."

Gary Garland,

"Fascinating to read. Well planned and well executed."

Ralph Pearce, author of From Asahi to Zebras

"Fitts presents a spectrum of candid and engaging stories that cover nearly the entire history of Japanese Professional Baseball.  And, it's a great read".

John Gall, author of Sayonora Home Run!

"An excellent addition to the library of anyone who wants to learn about Japanese baseball."  

Jim Albright, of Baseball

"Through these narratives Fitts grants us unrivaled firsthand knowledge of Japanese baseball." 

Jerry Klinkowitz, author of Owning a Piece of the Minors and Basepaths

Gene Martin

Glenn Mickens

Masaaki Mori

Masanori Murakami

Hirofumi Naito

Futoshi Nakanishi

Alonzo Powell

Daryl Spencer

Gordie Windhorn

Boomer Wells

Clyde Wright

Wally Yonamine

Gene Bacque

Don Blassingame

Ralph Bryant

Orestes Destrade

Eric Hillman

Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama

Jack Howell

Takashi Iwamoto

Dick Kashiwaeda

Rick Lancellotti

Leron Lee

Brad Leslie 

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