Seventeen-year-old Japanese pitcher, Eiji Sawamura, took the mound against a team of touring All-Star players from Major League Baseball on November 20, 1934. He came into the game in the fourth inning and pitched nine innings, striking out nine batters and giving up only one run. At one point, he successively struck out Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx. The only run came on a home run by Gehrig as the American team won, 1-0.
American team manager Connie Mack was so impressed by the young man’s performance that he tried to sign him to a contract. Sawamura declined, however, as anti-American sentiment was strong in Japan at that time.
3 thoughts on “This day in baseball: American All-Stars face Eiji Sawamura”
This is such a wonderful “what if” fact, like an archaeologist who finds an old bone and the entire world as we knew it is turned upside down or at least an other dimensional, fictional one.
It’s strange, sometimes, to thing about how much baseball and politics intertwine. I sometimes wonder about a world in which baseball could just be, with no outside influence whatsoever. A fantasy world, of course.
The what if possibility I was thinking about was if anti american sentiment had not been so high, maybe Sawamura might have kangarooed to america and played baseball. That sort of other dimension. But the politics and reality that intertwine with baseball are beautiful, if you ask me, both the splendor and shame, both the architectural trends influencing stadium design and plastic surgery impacting PED and so on and so on, endless.