Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hall of Fame Announces 2014 Ballot

The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced the candidates for the class of 2014 (see here for the list in English).  Joining Koji Akiyama, Atsuya Furuta and Tatsunuri Hara on the Players Division ballot are Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Masumi Kuwata, Takenori Suzuki and Hideo Nomo.  In November, Nomo became the first Japanese-born player to make the Hall of Fame ballot in the US, and now becomes the first player to be on both ballots at the same time. 

Joining Masayuki Dobashi, Boomer Wells, Randy Bass and others on the Expert Division ballot are Kihachi Enomoto (left) and Don Blasingame, who competed against each other during the 1958 Cardinals tour of Japan later in the Pacific League as members of the Orions and Hawks; Laron Lee, Kenichi Tazawa, Taira Fujita, Masataka Nashida, Fumio Takechi, Michiyo Arito, and Hiroshi Arakawa, well known as the coach who taught Sadaharu Oh (above) his famed flamingo batting stance; and Masanori Murakami, who was the first Japanese pro to pitch in the MLB, was featured in Rob Fitts' excellent book Remembering Japanese Baseball, and is the subject of an upcoming work by Fitts. It's fitting that both Murakami and Nomo, the first two Japanese pitchers to pitch in the majors, both appear on the ballot for the first time together.

More to come on Arakawa, the '58 tour, and the rest of the ballot....
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