|2009 Epoch All Japan Baseball Foundation #38|
Today is the 35th anniversary of an interesting event in a Nippon Series game. On October 22, 1978 the Hankyu Braves played the Yakult Swallows in Game Seven of the Nippon Series. (Curiously it looks like the Swallows were playing their home games in the Series at Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo rather than their normal home stadium of Meiji Jingu Stadium, probably due to the higher capacity of Korakuen, home of the Giants.) During the game, Katsuo Osugi of the Swallows hit what the umpires called a home run down the left line. Hankyu manager Toshiharu Ueda came out and argued that the ball was foul. And argued. And argued. Ueda eventually pulled his team off the field as he continued to argue that the ball was foul. Finally, after an hour and nine minutes, the umpires appealed to the NPB commissioner who concurred with their call. Osugi would hit another home run later in the game for good measure (he hit four in the Series, winning the MVP award) and Charlie Manuel contributed one as well as the Swallows won 4-0 to win their first ever Nippon Series.
The Japanese Wikipedia entry on the 1978 Nippon Series appears to go into a lot of detail on why Ueda felt the ball was foul although the Google translation is a little confusing.
I looked around a little on YouTube but I couldn't find any video of the home run. I do have a couple pictures from the argument from a couple of books. This first picture is from the 1999 NPB publication "The Legend Of 50 Years" celebrating the first 50 years of the two league system.
This second picture is from a mook I bought last March at Shosen Grande in Jinbocho about the Hankyu Braves:
UPDATE - found an interview with Ueda from 1989 or 1990 (when he was still managing the Braves only now they were the Orix Braves) where he talks about this game. There's a couple clips from the game itself but nothing that's definitive at all. It looks like Osugi didn't know if it was fair or foul either.