Meet Masanori Murakami

Mashi then . . .

Mashi then . . .

. . . and Mashi now.

. . . and Mashi now.

Book Cover

The Institute for Baseball Studies presents legendary pitcher Masanori Murakami and author Robert K. Fitts in a discussion on Japanese baseball and Mashi’s role as Japan’s first U.S. Major Leaguer, on Tuesday, July 7,. 2015, at 7:30 p.m.  The event will be held at Villalobos Hall, 13507 Earlham Dr., on the campus of Whittier College.  Murakami will sign copies of the new biography, Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer, by Robert K. Fitts.  The signature will be free with purchase of the book for $25.00.  Autographed baseballs and cards will also be available for sale.  Mashi will autograph your items for $25.00 per signature.  Light refreshments will be served.  Come early and visit the Institute for Baseball Studies, which will be open from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Free parking for this event is available in the Mendenhall lot on Philadelphia St., just north of Painter Ave.; or in the lot on the corner of Earlham Dr. and Painter Ave.

mashi 3

From the inside of the biography’s dust jacket:  “In the spring of 1964, the Nankai Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League sent nineteen-year-old Masanori Murakami to the Class A Fresno Giants to improve his skills.  To nearly everyone’s surprise, Murakami, known as Mashi, dominated the American hitters.  With the San Francisco Giants caught in a close pennant race and desperate for a left-handed reliever, Masanori was called up to join the big league club, becoming the first Japanese player in the Major Leagues.

“Featuring pinpoint control, a devastating curveball, and a friendly smile, Mashi became the Giants’ top lefty reliever and one of the team’s most popular players — as well as a national hero in Japan. Not surprisingly, the Giants offered him a contract for the 1965 season.  Murakami signed, announcing that he would be thrilled to stay in San Francisco.  There was just one problem: the Nankai Hawks still owned his contract.

Author Robert Fitts

Author Robert K. Fitts

“The dispute over Murakami’s contract would ignite an international incident that ultimately prevented other Japanese players from joining the Majors for forty years.  Mashi is the story of an unlikely hero who gets caught up in an American and Japanese baseball dispute and is forced to choose between his dreams in the United States and his duty in Japan.”

Robert K. Fitts is the author of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan, winner of the Society for American Baseball Research’s 2013 Seymour Medal for the best baseball book, and Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Baseball.

For further information, contact Institute for Baseball Studies Co-Directors Joseph L. Price by e-mail at or by phone at (562) 907-4803; or Terry Cannon by e-mail at or by phone at (626) 791-7647.  This event is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Mashi and "The Old Perfessor," Casey Stengel.

Mashi and “The Old Perfessor,” Casey Stengel.

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