This Week In Baseball History - Ep 11: Mashi Murakami Mania
Although the Twins' forays into Asia have both been busts, that doesn't diminish the importance of Japan, Korea, and Taiwan as hotbeds of talent and enthusiasm for the game. And long before there was ByungHo Park or Tsuyoshi Nishioka, there was Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese player to make it to the Major Leagues.
Murakami's success as a member of the San Francisco Giants in 1964 and 1965 are the subject of the latest episode of This Week In Baseball History, a new podcast produced by Mike Bates (hey, that's me!) and Bill Parker. His story is a great one that touches on the difficulties of the immigrant experience, from culture shock to prejudice to triumph, and reaches (spoiler alert) a pretty bittersweet conclusion. Our special guest in this episode, Rob Fitts, literally wrote the book on Mashi, and has great insight on how his time in America and his return to Japan affected the rest of his life, and why, after Murakami left the Giants, there wasn't another Japanese MLBer for another 30 years.
Bill and I are back each week with a new topic. So far, we've covered the trial of the Chicago Black Sox, the deaths of Thurman Munson and Ed Delahanty, Mark McGwire's record-setting rookie season in 1987 (ooh, that's kind of Twins-related; we talk about Bert Blyleven), and more. You can find all the episodes of the podcast at This Week In Baseball History.
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