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Why are Japan and Korea in the World Baseball Classic Final?

March 24, 2009
They didn't like me too much in Japan

The  answer to this question is very simple. It comes in a one word answer.


Davey Johnson just couldn’t get the camaraderie in the dugout as the Japanese team did.

Davey Johnson should know better because he did in fact play in Japan.


In Japan

Davey Johnson – BR Bullpen. (Please go to the site for more on Davey Johnson)

After being let go by the Atlanta Braves in April of 1975, he played for the Tokyo Giants in Japan in 1975 and 1976. Johnson was the first foreign player for the Giants after they won a record nine straight Japan Series titles without any gaijinShigeo Nagashima personally selected Johnson to become the team’s first foreigner in over a decade and Johnson was to replace Hall-of-Famer Nagashima at third base. After predicting a 50-home-run season, Johnson hit just 13 HR. In June he set a Central League record by striking out in eight consecutive at-bats. Worse, his overall line was .197/.275/.356, a far cry from what Nagashima had been hitting. Davey became known as “Dame (No Good)” Johnson, was ridiculed by the press and fans. Additionally he lost almost 15% of his body weight and broke a bone in his shoulder to lose a month of playing time. For the first time ever, Yomiuri finished last and Johnson certainly deserved and received some of the blame. assistance. Manager

In January of 1976, Davey became one of the few Americans to participate in the “voluntary” training camps attended by practically all the Japanese players. He returned to play second base but injured his left thumb while sliding into a base and demanded to go to the USA to see a specialist; Nagashima refused and Johnson went against the most popular man in Japanese baseball (who had also gotten him his job). When Johnson went ahead to see Dr. Robert Kerlan in Los Angeles, CA the press began calling for a reinstitution of the Giants’ ban on gaijin. Kerlan said Johnson had an inflamed neroma and Davey sat out a couple weeks waiting to get a return visa to Japan, then (as per medical advice) neglected batting practice upon returning to action. He hit a game-winning grand slam in his first day back and homered 9 times in 12 games. He hit 18 HR in August and September – overall he hit .275/.365/.539 with 26 homers and hit the pennant-clinching homer. He won a Gold Glove and was named to the Best Nine. Johnson had done a goat-to-hero turn and Yomiuri went worst-to-first.

Despite promises from Nagashima that he was not required to take batting practice due to his injury, the Yomiuri coaches forced him to do so during the Japan Series. Johnson was 0 for 13 with 6 K’s in the post-season. Yomiuri GM Roy Saeki offered Johnson an $80,000 contract, a 20% pay cut. Johnson said he’d sign if Nagashima apologized for going back on his word. The manager/national hero refused and the Giants did not renew the contract, claiming Davey had made unrealistic demands. Giants star Tsuneo Horiuchi said “We don’t need any greedy gaijin” and fellow Yomiuri leader Sadaharu Oh criticized Johnson’s character.

The Kintetsu Buffaloes expressed interest in signing Johnson but the Giants barred the way, using their influence as the most popular and powerful team in Japan. Johnson, who had wanted to return to play and coach in Japan, returned to the US and had his best rate-stat season ever, posting a 150 OPS+ in part-time work for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1977 before fading away at age 35 in 1978.

for all you kids out there



Japan(picture from an interesting blog)

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