Thursday, June 02, 2016

"certain of the Pharisees said unto them" - A God of Baseball Coming Down

Around Tokyo

A God of Baseball Coming Down

Baseball was first introduced into Japan by an American who was teaching in a school in Tokyo in 1871.  The school later developed to be the University of Tokyo.

The most powerful player in the history of the Japanese professional baseball is Sadaharu Oh who delivered total 868 home runs, though his nationality is Taiwanese (he had been born in Japan between the Japanese mother and the Chinese father in 1940).

Oh, who played in the Tokyo Giants all through his career, became a superstar in the Japanese professional baseball since he hit 55 homers in 1964 when one season had 140 games.  Since then, many pitchers avoided confrontation with Oh by giving him a walk.  For example, in the 1966 season, Oh was given a walk 41 times in addition to drawing a walk 142 times.  But not all the pitchers of opposite teams took these safety measures.

In one game in 1968, an American pitcher hired by an opposite team beaned Oh, since Oh looked in very good conditions though he always looked so at bat in those days  The ball did not hit Oh.  But a coach of the Giants got angry and into a scrimmage with the American pitcher with other players joining the clash.  Finally, the coach and the American pitcher were ordered to leave the ball park.  But a Japanese pitcher who took over beaned Oh, too.  This time, the ball hit the head of Oh who fell over and was soon carried to a hospital from the ball park by ambulance.

The whole ball park was thrown into an extraordinary and eerie atmosphere.  The rivalry between the Giants and the opposite team was always so tense, since the Giants represents Tokyo and the opposite team, the Tigers, represents Osaka, the biggest rival city of Tokyo. .

The next batter was Shigeo Nagashima, who is the most popular and loved player in the history of the Japanese baseball.  Nagashima was a kind of big brother to Oh in the team.  And the spectators got nervous, though in quite silence, since the pitcher who had struck the head of Oh with bean ball was still on the pitching mound.

The dangerous pitcher threw a ball at Nagashima who hit it over the fence into the bleacher seats.  Then, all the spectators felt relived, giving Nagashima a great cheer.

At the moment, some news reporter felt, as he wrote later, a god of baseball coming down to the ball park.

Shigeo Nagashima made this kind of drastic performance many times in his career as the leading batter of the Giants along with Oh till he retired in 1974 (Oh retired in 1980).  So, Nagashima became the player who represented the Japanese professional baseball.  Even today, he enjoys a good name and reputation not only in the baseball community but also in the whole nation.

Anyway, this episode of a baseball game in Japan in 1968 is one of examples where some Japanese feel a god coming down from Heaven to the ground.

Scrimmage in the 1968 baseball game between the Giants and the Tigers with Oh, the fourth from the left

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Luk 6:2 And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
Luk 6:3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;