Wednesday, December 13, 2006


More than 40 years ago the San Francisco Giants brought a pitcher from Japan. Here is the story about that:

Relief pitcher Masanori Murakami can roughly be described as "the Jackie Robinson of Japanese baseball." Murakami, from Otsuki, Japan, was the first player from that nation to appear on a major league roster, albeit briefly. Though Murakami only appeared in 54 games for the San Francisco Giants from 1964 to 1965, his legacy as a baseball pioneer cannot be denied. Murakami's abbreviated appearance in the States, and his eventual return to Japanese baseball, is a story shrouded in mystery and international intrigue. Ironically, after Murakami, the U.S. would not see another Japanese player in its major leagues for another thirty years.
The rest of that article is *HERE*.

There is no mystery about what happened. Anyone who followed baseball at the time knows what happened. The Japanese totally welshed on the deal that brought Murakami to the States. The previous owners of the pitcher, giving a Gallic shrug, said, “You do not sell a major league pitcher for (X).” (X) being whatever the previous owner received for the rights to Murakami. The previous owners were probably shocked by the success Murakami had in American baseball. They then unilaterally reclaimed the pitcher, in effect stealing him back from his legitimate owners. They undoubtedly had the approval of the Japanese government in doing this.

The protests of the baseball people were quashed by the US State Department in the interest of international relations. That is why there was no Japanese player in its major leagues for another thirty years. The Americans had learned they could not trust the Japanese. Mystery solved!

Now the Red Sox are in negotiations with another Japanese pitcher. Here is some of the story:

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and agent Scott Boras, philosophically worlds apart in the Daisuke Matsuzaka negotiations, put aside their differences at the 11th hour and are near completing a multiyear deal for the coveted Japanese pitcher. The Globe's Gordon Edes has confirmed that the sides have reached a preliminary agreement on a $52 million, six-year contract, including escalators that could bring the total as high as $60 million.
The entire article is *HERE*.

Missing from the article is the fact that Matsuzaka has two more years to go on his contract in Japan for which he is paid 2 million a year. The Red Sox paid 51+ million dollars just for the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka, none of which can go to the pitcher. If the Red Sox do not reach an agreement with the pitcher, all that money, 51+ million dollars, must be returned to them.

Wouldn’t it be great if they can’t come to an agreement and the Japanese have to return the money and Matsuzaka has to go back to working for a lousy 2 mil a year? Wouldn’t that be perfect revenge for what they did in the Murakami incident?

Yes, I’m still pissed off about that.

I’m still pissed off about Pearl Harbor too.

UPDATE: They came to an agreement:

Daisuke Matsuzaka's six-year, $52 million contract was announced Thursday by the Boston Red Sox, who hope he will follow Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez as an ace on the Fenway Park mound.

Add the team's winning $51.11 million bid for negotiating rights to the Japanese ace, which must be paid to the Seibu Lions by Dec. 21, and Boston's investment comes to $103.11 million. That doesn't include $8 million in escalators based on Matsuzaka winning awards.

Read the story *HERE*.


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