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Robert Whiting

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'Samurai baseball' by U.S. resident

by Asahi Evening News (Oct 13, 1977)

 Digitized by Jessica Suchman and Catherine Nissley

A book entitled "The Chrysanthemum and the Bat," in which an American writer has analyzed the unique characteristics of the Japanese professional baseball world, is now drawing much attention here and in the United States.

The author of the book, Robert Whiting, a 34 year old American resident in Tokyo, terms Japanese professional baseball "samurai baseball."

There remains a strong tendency to exclude foreign players from the stardoms in Japan and any foreign player must fight against some kind of "plot" among Japanese players in order to attain success, says Whiting who fails from California and graduated from the politics Department of Tokyo's Sophia University.

In many cases in which foreign players hit sharp line drives that hit and elude infielders, the official record registers here decide that they are errors, he writes,. In 1965, when American Daryl Spencer of the Hankyu Braves was a serious contender for winning the Pacific League Triple Crown, Masaaki Koyama of the Lotte Orions and other PL hurlers only gave Spencer walks in a bid to give the precious title to Kasuya Nomura of the Nankai Hawks, according to the writer.

Spencer broke his leg in a motorcycle accident while the season was on and Nomura eventually shined as the batting Triple Crown winner.

Whiting also says that, in the United States major league, the human rights as individuals of players are fully respected, while in Japan, players are part of their clubs and follow all kinds of instructions of the teams.

Whiting says that the Japanese-style baseball has adopted a "samurai style." The tough spring training camp is also cited as part of Japanese "samurai" baseball.

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