Akihiro “Ike” Ikuhara Two-page Introduction Letter


This February 8, 1965 letter from Sotaro Suzuki, highly-respected sports columnist, is to introduce a young man, Akihiro “Ike” Ikuhara, to Walter O’Malley, President of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Suzuki and O’Malley were good friends from the Dodgers’ 1956 trip to Japan and then Suzuki made trips to Dodgertown in 1957 and 1961. Both men had a vision to enhance baseball in Japan for players and fans. Ikuhara was a graduate of Waseda University and a former baseball coach at Asia University, and had a tremendous desire to work for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Multiple times when Ikuhara traveled to Suzuki’s home and approached him about an introduction to O’Malley, Suzuki wanted to think about it. But Ikuhara’s patience, work ethic and sincerity had an effect on Suzuki and the introduction was made to O’Malley. Ikuhara and Suzuki traveled to Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida where Ikuhara first worked for the Dodgers in the spring of 1965. Ikuhara was then asked to join Peter O’Malley in Spokane, Washington where Peter was President and General Manager of the Spokane Indians, Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate of the Pacific Coast League, for two years (1965-66). He learned English quickly and served the Spokane team in many areas. In 1967, he relocated to Los Angeles when Peter O’Malley was made Vice President, Stadium Operations for the Dodgers. Ikuhara became an official representative for Peter O’Malley in international baseball circles and was prominent in the effort to secure baseball as a demonstration sport for the 1984 Games of the XXIII Olympiad in Los Angeles. In 1982, Ikuhara was named as Assistant to the Dodger President, a post he held for 10 years until his passing. For his dedication to international baseball in his career, Ikuhara was elected to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, the only executive in Major League Baseball ever to receive this honor. Suzuki, who authored several baseball books, was inducted into the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968.