Friday, March 28, 2014


During the course of preparing the final touches on  a paper about the 1958 Cardinals tour of Japan, Jim Brosnan, and baseball literature (a paper with origins on this site, and which will be presented at this year's Cooperstown Symposium at the Hall of Fame), I came across a new translation of Genpei Akasegawa's Hyperart: Thomasson.  The book is a collection of essays on a phenomena described by Akasegawa as "defunct and useless object[s] attached to someone’s property and aesthetically maintained", and named a Thomasson, after former Major Leaguer and Yomiuri Giant Gary Thomasson (above).  I recommend picking up a copy.

Thomasson signed a huge contract with the Giants in the early 1980's and, despite hitting a decent number of home runs, was seen as a flop who struck out too often.  His strike outs (nearly setting the single season record in his first season) seem to have inspired not only Akasegawa to see useless yet persistent objects as having Thomasson-like traits, but William Gibson (in Virtual Light), as well.  The inspiration Japanese authors find in gaijin transplants to the Central and Pacific Leagues (thinking also of Haruki Murakami's story of how he was inspired to become a novelist while in the bleachers of a Yakult Swallows game, after watching Dave Hilton hit a double) requires more analysis than I have room for here, but I hope to capture something of it in my paper.

Stay tuned for a post on the formation of the two league system in 1950, inspired by comments from NPB Card Guy a while back....

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