Batting Out Of Their League

When I first came to Japan back in the 1960s, Japanese professional baseball was in its heyday. It had produced, arguably, its best squad ever — the proud Tokyo Yomiuri Giants, who were then in the process of winning nine consecutive Japan Championships. The team was powered by Sadaharu Oh, the man who would go on to break Hank Aaron's lifetime home-run record, and its charismatic, clutch-hitting third baseman Shigeo Nagashima. Los Angeles Dodger owner Walter O'Malley was so impressed with Nagashima that he tried to buy his contract, but the Giants' aging founder Matsutaro Shoriki turned the offer down flat....

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