Banzai Babe Ruth

Banzai Babe Ruth

Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan

Robert K. Fitts

368 pages
35 photographs, 1 map, 3 appendixes

Hardcover

March 2012

978-0-8032-2984-6

$34.95 Add to Cart
Paperback

March 2013

978-0-8032-4581-5

$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

In November 1934 as the United States and Japan drifted toward war, a team of American League all-stars that included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, future secret agent Moe Berg, and Connie Mack barnstormed across the Land of the Rising Sun. Hundreds of thousands of fans, many waving Japanese and American flags, welcomed the team with shouts of “Banzai! Banzai, Babe Ruth!” The all-stars stayed for a month, playing 18 games, spawning professional baseball in Japan, and spreading goodwill.

Politicians on both sides of the Pacific hoped that the amity generated by the tour—and the two nations’ shared love of the game—could help heal their growing political differences. But the Babe and baseball could not overcome Japan’s growing nationalism, as a bloody coup d’état by young army officers and an assassination attempt by the ultranationalist War Gods Society jeopardized the tour’s success. A tale of international intrigue, espionage, attempted murder, and, of course, baseball, Banzai Babe Ruth is the first detailed account of the doomed attempt to reconcile the United States and Japan through the 1934 All American baseball tour. Robert K. Fitts provides a wonderful story about baseball, nationalism, and American and Japanese cultural history.

Author Bio

Robert K. Fitts graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received a PhD from Brown University. Originally trained as an archeologist of colonial America, Fitts left that field to focus on his passion, Japanese baseball. He is also the author of Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game and Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball (Nebraska, 2008).

Table of Contents

<CT>Contents</CT>
List of Illustrations 
Recurring Japanese Characters 
Prologue 
Acknowledgments 
Part 1. "When I say I'll do something, I bet my life on it." 
Part 2. "Babe Ruth . . . is a great deal more effective Ambassador than I could ever be." 
Part 3. "The Japanese are equal to the Americans in strength of spirit." 
Part 4. "There will be no war between the United States and Japan." 
Part 5. "To hell with Babe Ruth!" 
Appendix 1. The All American Touring Party 
Appendix 2. Tour Batting and Pitching Statistics 
Appendix 3. Tour Game Line Scores 
Notes 
Bibliography 
Index 

Awards

2013 Seymour Medal Winnner
2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal Winner
 

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