Youngest and Oldest Starting Lineup

September is here, and with that comes a flood of baby-faced rookies getting their first taste of “The Show.” Lineups for some teams start to resemble Spring Training tilts, or Triple-A All-Star games.  There is youth all around. The VORG wondered what team put together the youngest lineup ever based on average age on the … Read more

Opposing Pitchers Batting Eighth – History in Milwaukee Today

Today’s Giants/Brewers game is a first in MLB Opening Day history. Its the first time both opposing pitchers (in this case Wily Peralta and Madison Bumgarner) will bat eighth in an Opening Day tilt. Here are the 25 prior occurrences of both starting hurlers batting eighth, along with the respective managers and team game numbers. … Read more

Most Consecutive Games with Same Score (one team)

Another instance of one blog post inspiring another.  I posted this a couple of weeks ago: Now at the VORG, which date(s) in #MLB history featured the most common final score? http://t.co/jmCfFt2o05 #dougkern #espn — Diane Firstman (@dianagram) September 11, 2015 And then friend of the VORG @BravesStats chimed in: @dianagram Related request: Consecutive games … Read more

Q & A with “Mashi” Author Rob Fitts

71hJJD1zE6LIn 1964, 20-year-old Masanori Murakami became the first player from Japan to play in the Major Leagues. Japanese baseball expert/author Robert Fitts documents Murakami’s journey from the Nankai Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League to the San Francisco Giants in “Mashi.

Fitts was the winner of the Society of American Baseball Research’s 2013 Seymour Medal for the best baseball book with Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan. Prior to that he had penned Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Baseball.

Fitts was kind enough to take some time after a recently-concluded book tour with Murakami to answer some questions from the VORG ….

A few general questions before we get into the book …

VORG: Its quite a leap of faith to go from a career in archaeology/anthropology to writing about baseball history. Can you describe what pushed you towards giving up one career for the other?

RF: That’s a really long story. The gist of it is: in the late 1990s I created a website for selling off of Japanese baseball card doubles. The site did well enough that I left my job as a consulting archaeologist to focus on the website. I began writing about Japanese baseball history to promote the card sales but soon realized that I enjoyed the research and writing far more than selling cards. After meeting Wally Yonamine in 2003 and hearing his stories about playing in Japan, I decided to write Remembering Japanese Baseball. That got me hooked and I’ve been writing full-time ever since.

VORG: Your bio mentions that you lived in Tokyo from 1993-1994. What were you doing over there at that time?

RF: My wife was a Japanese major in college and could speak fluent Japanese. Her law firm sent her over for 2 years and I went along.

VORG: There are all types of baseball fans, and SABR helps niches within the fandom grow. What drew you to study and write about baseball in Japan specifically?

RF: During my time in Japan, I fell in love with the Japanese game. I enjoyed that atmosphere of the games.

VORG: I would suspect that doing research about Japanese baseball history is a magnitude more difficult than most other baseball interests, given the written and oral language barriers. What sort of resources (online, library, societies) have provided you with the broadest help in navigating the language differences?

RF: I’ve built an extensive library on the topic so that I can do most of my research at home. I also have a wonderful research assistant named Keiko Nishi who translates for me as well as interprets when needed.

VORG: How good is your Japanese these days?

RF: It’s pretty poor. I can accomplish basic tasks like ordering food, asking directions etc. Sometimes I can follow a conversation. I can read names, box scores and stats but not much beyond that.

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“P”ing on the Shoulders of Giants

The San Francisco Giants have been occasionally starting five different players whose last names begin with the letter P.  One such instance occurred Thursday night at Milwaukee, when their starting nine went as follows: Batting Angel Pagan CF Hunter Pence RF Buster Posey 1B Pablo Sandoval 3B Mike Morse LF Joe Panik 2B Brandon Crawford … Read more

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