Thursday, October 13, 2016

1956 Dodgers Goodwill Tour in Japan Remembered

60 years ago this month, the then Brooklyn Dodgers (prior to the move to Los Angeles) made a Goodwill tour of Japan in October 1956. It was while we were researching Dodger history for our upcoming WWII historical fiction novel DIAMOND IN THE PACIFIC that we came across this unique moment in time that captured the Japanese nation. The then Brooklyn Dodgers had just lost game 7 of the 1956 World Series to their crosstown Yankees rivals when they were put on a Douglas DC-7 plane headed west to Los Angeles then onto to Hawaii before reaching Japan. 
If you could go back in time to any great Dodger game, this would have been one tour to remember. This had legendary players such as Duke Snyder, Pee-Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Don Demeter, Billy Herman, and legendary Color-Barrier breaking baseball great Jackie Robinson. This was Jackie Robinson's last year with the Dodgers marking the end of what has been called The Jackie Robinson Era. They played several games including against the Kanto All Stars at Miyagi Stadium and their final game against the Yomiuri Giants at Korakuen Stadium. 
While we don't have the complete details of the tour, we have enough to fit this historical gem into our novel's storyline. In it, we tell the fictional tale of two baseball players one from Japan and the other the United States whose lives are disrupted by the outbreak of war. Our fictional 1st Baseman Kenshin Yoshimoto of the Yomiuri Ginats and Pitcher "Meteor-Mike" Murphy of the Brooklyn Dodgers will face each other in THE DIAMOND IN THE PACIFIC. But how this ties into this real life 1956 Goodwill Tour is quite unique. While our two war time foes respected each other as players on the field, they do not become friends until after the war when Yoshimoto encounters Murphy posing for photos with Japanese school children and his team mates at Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park. What many people may not know is that legendary Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda was a second year player who happened to be on that tour. He plays a fictional part in our story and this tour serves as a vehicle for how we tie our story arc together. We hope you stay tuned for updates on our Amereican Mishima novel. We believe both baseball fans and WWII buffs alike will enjoy our upcoming epic to be published in 2017. 

No comments:

Post a Comment