A Dodgers fan in Yankees pinstripes in postwar Japan

From C.J. Hoppin at the New York Times on May 13, 2012, with mention of SABR member Yoichi Nagata:

After they lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1955 World Series, the Yankees embarked on a six-week barnstorming tour of the Pacific islands.

I was 13 at the time, and my family was living at Grant Heights, the United States military housing for the occupation forces in Tokyo. My father, an Air Force major in charge of special services in the Far East, helped the Yankees with transportation for their welcome parade. He also arranged for me to be the Yankees’ bat boy for their six games in Tokyo.


The Yankees’ roster included the future Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle, among many others. [Billy] Martin, who was often described as feisty, was among the more lively players. Usually a second baseman, he also played shortstop during this tour in the absence of Phil Rizzuto. Jerry Coleman, who played second, and the backup catcher Charlie Silvera were the most vocal. There was no doubt that Manager Casey Stengel was in charge as the Yankees won 15 games and tied one in Japan.

After the first two games, I went back to being an eighth grader at Camp Drake Junior High School while the team played 10 games in other cities. Although my classmates were reasonably impressed, they teased me about the Dodgers-Yankees rivalry. I suited up again for four games when the Yankees returned to Tokyo.

In the finale, a 9-3 victory against an all-star team from Japan, Martin broke his bat on an infield grounder. It snapped cleanly and did not shatter. When I retrieved it, I noted that it was not a Louisville Slugger like the others but was made by a Japanese company, Nagata.

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/sports/baseball/a-dodgers-fan-in-yankees-pinstripes-in-postwar-japan.html?_r=1

Originally published: May 13, 2012. Last Updated: May 13, 2012.