1956 Goodwill Baseball Tour - Yomiuri Shimbun Walter O'Malley The Official Website



Overview
1956 Japan Tour
1956 Summary
Introduction
October 19, 1956
October 20, 1956
October 21, 1956
October 23, 1956
October 24, 1956
October 26, 1956
October 27, 1956
October 28, 1956
October 30, 1956
October 31, 1956
November 1, 1956
November 2, 1956
November 3, 1956
November 4, 1956
November 6, 1956
November 7, 1956
November 8, 1956
November 9, 1956
November 10, 1956
November 12, 1956
November 13, 1956
Postscript
1966 Japan Tour
International Relations



Brooklyn Dodgers 1956 Goodwill Tour to Japan  


National League Champions (93-61 record)
Lost to New York Yankees in World Series, 4 games to 3

Dodger President — Walter O’Malley

Manager — Walter Alston (24)
Coaches — Joe Becker (33), Billy Herman (22), Jake Pitler (31)

Players

Pitchers — Don Bessent (46), Ralph Branca (28), Roger Craig (40), Don Drysdale (53), Carl Erskine (17), Fred Kipp (26), Clem Labine (41), Don Newcombe (36), Ed Roebuck (37)

Catchers — Roy Campanella (39), Dixie Howell (54), Herb Olson (55)

Infielders — Bob Aspromonte (34), Jim Gentile (38), Gil Hodges (14), Randy Jackson (2), Bob Lillis (30), Pee Wee Reese (1), Jackie Robinson (42), Don Zimmer (23)

Outfielders — Gino Cimoli (9), Don Demeter (27), Jim Gilliam (19), Bert Hamric (51), Duke Snider (4).

Japan’s Central League (in order of final standings in 1956)

Yomiuri Giants, Tokyo*
Hanshin Tigers, Osaka
Chunichi Dragons, Nagoya
Kokutetsu Swallows, Tokyo
Hiroshima Carp, Hiroshima
Taiyo Whales, Tokyo

Japan’s Pacific League (in order of final standings in 1956)

Nishitetsu Lions, Fukuoka*
Nankai Hawks, Osaka
Hankyu Braves, Osaka
Mainichi Orions, Tokyo
Kintetsu Pearls, Osaka
Toei Flyers, Tokyo
Daiei Stars, Tokyo
Takahashi Unions, Kawasaki

*Lions won the Pacific League Championship and defeated the Giants, who won the Central League Championship, in the Japan Series, 4 games to 2.

PRELUDE: Early in 1956, the Dodgers were invited by Matsutaro Shoriki, the founder of the Yomiuri Shimbun and the “father of Japanese professional baseball,” to make a trip to Japan following the regular season. It was Walter O’Malley’s desire to accept the invitation and have the Dodgers make the goodwill tour to further international relations. He spent time to ensure the key Dodger players would make the trip before responding. The Dodgers were at the height of their popularity, having won their first World Series Championship in 1955. Shoriki dispatched renowned Yomiuri sportswriter Sotaro Suzuki to New York to meet with O’Malley and personally act as his representative to make all necessary arrangements for the Dodgers to make the goodwill tour, sponsored by the Yomiuri Shimbun. The plans for the trip were announced publicly by O’Malley on September 9. John M. Allison, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, issued a statement just before the Dodgers arrived in Japan. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Allison to say that baseball has become “a regular and significant event in Japan’s relations with the United States.” Allison added, “This visit to Japan by one of America’s most notable baseball teams is an outstanding example of the many mutual interests shared by the people of Japan and the United States, the two nations which regard baseball as a national sport. It is but one of the many exchanges by which the two countries further their good relations and understanding.”1 The Dodgers tuned up for the Japan games by playing three exhibition contests in Hawaii, one in Kahului, Maui and the final two in Honolulu. They defeated the Maui All-Stars, 6-0, the Hawaiian All-Stars, 19-0 and the semi-pro champion Honolulu Red Sox, 7-3 in 10 innings. The Dodgers then left Honolulu on October 16 en route to Tokyo. They had a five-hour layover, due to a tire problem with their chartered plane, on Wake Island. The Dodgers, however, made the best of it as Wake Island declared a holiday and schools were closed and children flocked to the airport and everyone turned out to greet the Dodgers to their tiny coral atoll.w Due to their delayed late-afternoon arrival in Japan, the Dodgers cut short a welcoming reception at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport before a crowd of 3,000, mostly school-aged children, as they had to prepare to play the Central League Champions at Korakuen Stadium the next afternoon. Despite drizzle, some 100,000 enthusiastic onlookers lined the streets to watch the 67-person Dodger delegation in a 26-car motorcade travel from the airport though downtown Tokyo to the Imperial Hotel. A game-by-game recap follows.

1 Bob Bowie, Stars & Stripes, October 18, 1956
2 AP story in Asahi Evening News, October 19, 1956


Click here for more photos of the 1956 trip. Click here to see the 1956 commemorative plate.

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