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And in a Hall of Fame far, far away
2007-01-13 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Out in Japan, two men were chosen for the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at the Tokyo Dome.

Actually one of them, Reiichi Matsunaga, was chosen earlier by the Japanese version of the Veterans Committee. The one player chosen by a vote of the sportswriters was Takao Kajimoto, a star pitcher for the Hankyu Braves in the 1950s and 1960s. Kajimoto pitched for 20 seasons and amassed a 254-255 record and a 2.98 ERA. Meanwhile, Bert Blyleven makes some calls to see if he can pitch in Japan.

Boomer Wells got 43 votes.

The Hankyu Braves later became the Orix Blue Wave, who in turn merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes to become the Orix Buffaloes.

The voting system in Japan is pretty much the same as it is for Cooperstown. Sufficiently experienced sportswriters can vote for players (along with umpires, managers, and coaches) who have been retired for five years. They can name up to 10 people on a ballot. Candidates have to be named on 75% of all ballots.

If you're in Tokyo, it's worth a visit, although the museum is far smaller than Cooperstown and all the plaques are in Japanese. There are three Americans in the Hall of Fame in Japan: Wally Yonamine, Lefty O'Doul, and Horace Wilson.

2007-01-13 11:53:33
1.   Greg Brock
Hey Bob, has there ever been anything close to a whiff of steroid discussion in Japanese baseball? I would imagine such behavior in Japan would be frowned upon a little bit.
2007-01-13 12:38:49
2.   Bob Timmermann
It would not surprise me if Japanese players used PEDs at about the same rate as North American MLBers.
2007-01-13 14:06:40
3.   scareduck
What? No Tuffy Rhodes?

2007-01-13 14:32:41
4.   Bob Timmermann
Rhodes hasn't been retired for five years.

I doubt he will make it anyway.

It will be interesting to see if Bobby Valentine makes it in if he keeps managing in Japan.

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