Ichiro...Nomo...Hasegawa...Hideki Matsui...one by one they have come to America and made their mark as incredibly gifted and popular ballplayers. But this new wave of athlete-led by the sensational Ichiro Suzuki, whom many refer to as the best all-around player-is just the tip of a fascinating iceberg. Illuminating a deep and very different tradition of baseball, Whiting shows why more Japanese players will be coming to America...and how they will forever transform the way our game is played. Grandly entertaining and deeply revealing, The Samurai Way of Baseball is a classic book about sports, business, and stardom-in a world that is changing before our eyes.
Whiting (You Gotta Have It) offers an intriguing glimpse into Japanese culture and the way baseball has shaped society in that country, as players wrestle with their desire to compete against the world's best while honoring the rigid mores of their homeland. The book isn't so much about Seattle Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki as it is about every Japanese player who made the jump to the U.S. before and after him, how they fared and what role they played in America's pastime-like the aloof Kasuhisa Ishii, the flamboyant "spaceman" Tsuyoshi Shinjo and the underachieving Hideki Irabu, famously derided by Yankee owner George Steinbrenner as a "fat, pussy toad." A few have succeeded, some have failed and many still toil in the U.S. Equally intriguing is super-agent Don Nomura, who found the loopholes in the Japanese players' contracts (league rules were translated from American minor league baseball's from the 1930s) that enabled the pioneers to make the break for Major League Baseball. Whiting effectively sprinkles in Japanese words to explain and illustrate principles and customs, and his extensive knowledge of both baseball and culture in that country makes for a compelling read. Details such as Hideki Matsui's taste for adult movies, the real genesis of his Godzilla nickname and Hideo Nomo's demand for large payments for print and TV interviews back in Japan add flavor, and reportage on Kazuo Matsui signing with the Mets this past off-season keeps the book up to the minute. Agent, Amanda Urban. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.