Saturday, March 29, 2008

This is so cool!

As if there needed to be more ways of wasting time on the internet...

Sports Illustrated has put their entire run of magazines on line for free. Every issue since 1954 is available.

Of possible interest to Japanese baseball fans, there have been two issues that have featured Japanese baseball on the cover. Sadaharu Oh graced the cover of an issue from 1977, which featured an article on him by no less than Frank Deford. The other issue came out during the 1994 player's strike and contained an article on the ongoing Nippon Series between the Lions and the Giants. Lions pitcher Hisanobu Watanabe was on the cover.

The article on the Series was very interesting. I knew that Lions manager Masaaki Mori had been a catcher for the Giants during the V9 years (under the name Masahiko Mori), but I hadn't realized that he had retired at the same time as Shigeo Nagashima. If the article is to be believed (always a question when the American press talks about Japanese baseball), Mori asked for a position on Nagashima's coaching staff for the Giants (Nagashima retired as a player and immediately became the Giants manager at the end of the 1974 season). Nagashima refused and apparently Mori has been resentful ever since. So when the two faced off against each other in the 1994 Nippon Series (Nagashima was the Giants manager), it wasn't just a baseball series - it was personal (cue dramatic music).

Whatever. The Giants took the Series in 6 games for Nagashima's first (of two) championship. Mori would eventually win six championships, so it looks like it all worked out for him in the end.

One other note - this would be the only Nippon Series championship for Hiromitsu Ochiai as a player.

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