(L-R) Sadaharu Oh, Walter O’Malley; Toru Shoriki, owner, Yomiuri Giants; Shigeo Nagashima.


Toru Shoriki

Toru Shoriki was the eldest son of Matsutaro Shoriki, a highly-regarded businessman and owner of the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. He and Peter O’Malley became good friends through their numerous exchanges, including in Vero Beach, Florida, Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York and Spokane, Washington. After Matsutaro Shoriki’s passing in 1969, Toru continued the goodwill and friendship that had been established between his father and Walter O’Malley to the next generation. In February, 1980, Peter and Shoriki reached a “friendly agreement” in Japan designed to have more front office and coaching exchanges between the Dodgers and Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. In March, 1980, three Giants players and a minor league batting coach were at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida for two weeks of instruction during Dodger Spring Training. In April, 1980, the Dodgers also invited the Giants’ assistant public relations director to Dodger Stadium to observe and study the Dodger front office operation. Shoriki was a frequent guest of the Dodgers for the famous St. Patrick’s Day parties at Dodgertown. The 1967 Giants were in Dodgertown completing their pre-season training and the St. Patrick’s Day annual tradition was delayed two days to make it a combined “St. Patrick’s Day and Sayonara” celebration. In 1971, the O’Malley family recognized Shoriki as the guest of honor and put his name on the invitations, “Toru O’Shoriki”!

Under Shoriki’s leadership from 1964 to 1996, the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants won 12 Japan Series Championships and prepared for their season by training at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida in 1971, 1975 and 1981. The Giants won the Japan Series after preparing for their seasons at Dodgertown in 1971 and 1981. Frequently, Shoriki made annual visits to see the O’Malley family in Los Angeles. In 1970, Shoriki invited Peter, in his first year as Dodger president, to attend the 1970 Japan Series. Peter was the first official of an American major league baseball team to watch a Japan Series. Peter and Shoriki corresponded on a regular basis. Peter returned to Tokyo for the Japan Series in 1973 and during Game 3 on October 30 the large scoreboard at Korakuen Stadium read, “WELCOME MR. O’MALLEY” in all caps. Shoriki was always very appreciative of the friendship with Peter. On September 14, 1986, Peter was welcomed and introduced to the crowd for a Tokyo Yomiuri Giants game at Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo. He sat with Shoriki and former Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn that night. On January 29, 1988, Shoriki sent two Japan Baseball Hall of Fame players and managers – third baseman Shigeo Nagashima and pitcher Motoshi Fujita – from the Giants to make a presentation to Peter at Dodger Stadium of an impressive suit of armor, a replica of the O-Yoroi, worn by Japan’s highest-ranking samurai from the 10th through 14th centuries. The gesture represented the longtime friendship Shoriki and Peter had with each other, as well as between the Dodgers and Giants. In June, 1988, Shoriki again sent Peter an exceptional gift of appreciation – a 7-feet high bronze Eagle statue with a wingspan of more than 6 feet anchored on a beautiful wooden base. Renowned Japanese sculptor Isao Tabata was commissioned to create the special piece themed “Flying High to Eternity” statue in 1987, which commemorated the soaring relationship between the Shoriki and O’Malley families for more than 30 years. On May 5, 1989, Shoriki attended a game at Dodger Stadium, sitting with Peter in the President’s Box. Shoriki was photographed that evening with Peter, Dodger Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale, renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe and legendary USC Baseball Head Coach Rod Dedeaux. In 1990, Shoriki and Peter attended the ceremonies for the first game of the inaugural season of the four-team Chinese Professional Baseball League in the Republic of China at Taipei Baseball Stadium. Shoriki, who passed at 92 on August 15, 2011, owned the world’s biggest selling newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, which claimed more than 10 million subscribers. On September 30, 2011, Peter traveled to Tokyo to attend the memorial service for Shoriki, his longtime friend.

October 1970, Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo. Japan Series (Tokyo Yomiuri Giants vs. Lotte Orions). Giants won in five games. (L-R): Japan Baseball Hall of Fame columnist Sotaro Suzuki; Dodger President Peter O’Malley; and Toru Shoriki, owner, Tokyo Yomiuri Giants.

(L-R): Peter O’Malley; Dodger Hall of Fame pitcher and broadcaster Don Drysdale; Tokyo Yomiuri Giants owner Toru Shoriki; Dr. Frank Jobe; and USC Head Baseball Coach Rod Dedeaux in the Chairman’s Box, Dodger Stadium, May 5, 1989.