Lefty O'Doul: Baseball's Forgotten Ambassador
Monday Night Philosophy goes beyond ping-pong diplomacy and delves deep into the foreign policy role baseball played in US–Japan relations before and after World War II. Dennis Snelling reviews the roles played by Horace Wilson, Mike Fisher and Lefty O'Doul in making baseball popular in Japan. Horace Wilson, a Civil War veteran who had settled in San Francisco, taught English (and baseball) in Japan in the 1870s. Mike Fisher, a San Francisco entrepreneur, organized the first tour of Japan by professional ballplayers in 1908. Lefty O'Doul, a San Francisco native, played in Japan in 1931 and then brought Babe Ruth and others with him in 1934, where he helped found the Tokyo Giants. After the war, General MacArthur arranged for O'Doul to bring a baseball team over to help repair relations, which he successfully did in many ways on and off the field.
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