December 13, 2018

What’s On Second? The Japanese are Coming, Part I

November 14, 2007 by · Leave a Comment 


Here on at “What’s On Second?”, we’ll be doing various ‘statistorian’ types of analysis, looking at the history and past statistics of baseball, hopefully with the goal of understanding the present a little differently.


Japanese baseball continues to have a bigger impact on U. S. baseball each passing year, with this year being the first time a Japanese born pitcher won a Wold Series game. This influx of Japanese players is of course relatively new, mostly occuring since Hideo Nomo debuted in 1995. But U. S. baseball impacting NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) has been going on for quite some time – over 600 players have played in both MLB and NPB. The influx of U. S. players to Japan geared up in the 1960’s, with players such as Larry Doby, Don Newcombe, Johnny Logan, Bob Nieman, Daryl Spencer, Norm Larker, Ken Aspromonte, Chuck Essegian, Don Zimmer, Don Blasingame, Dick Stuart, George Altman, Jim Gentile, etc. going over for at least a season, and later more accomplished players – all-stars, batting champs, and even MVP’s – such as Matty Alou, Zolio Versalles, Willie Davis, Joe Pepitone, Davey Johnson, Roy White, Reggie Smith, Bobby Tolan, Ben Oglivie, Rich Gossage, Bill Madlock, Bob Horner, Julio Franco, Jesse Barfield, Bill Gullickson, Tony Fernandez, Cecil Fielder, Mike Greenwell, Matt Stairs and Anfonso Soriano spent time in Japan.

Because more Japanese players are coming to America, the question this time of year becomes ‘Who is coming?” and “How well will they do?” By looking at the history of players moving between MLB and NPB, we’ll try to answer those questions intelligently in Part II.


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