April 25, 2008
The Great American Past Time
Baseball has not only been a part of American, and Latin American history, but also Japanese. Japanese players never went through the hardships that African American or Latin players had to endure in order to participate in professional sports in America. The first Japanese baseball fan club was started in 1863, but the game itself and the rules were not fully taught to Japanese people until 1867, when an American English professor was teaching a class at what is now Tokyo University, and taught the fundamentals of baseball to his class. 30 men were sent to America a year later and then created their own “Orientals” baseball club.. The first official team in Japan was the Shinbashi Athletics, started in 1878, around the same time major league baseball in America was becoming popular. In 1895, the first ever meeting between an American baseball team, and a Japanese team, to which the Americans lost 29-4, which really sent shockwaves through the baseball world, letting everyone know that Japan was going to be a serious contender in the future of this great American sport.
Throughout the early 1900’s, baseball in Japan was gaining more and more popularity. Soon, High Schools all over the Island were starting baseball programs, and began national tournaments, where teams from the Philippine, and all across Japan would play, in what is still today considered the most exciting baseball tournament played in Japan. The first Japanese player ever to cross into American leagues, was a Taiwanese pitcher named Tan Shin-Ming, and had a record of 8-4 pitcher for a single-A team in San Francisco.
Both Latin America, and Japan have created, and maintain very competitive leagues in their respective regions. Japan’s season is about as long as an American season, which is 162 games, and is played during the same time. In contrast to that, the Latin American leagues typically are most...