If only there were more books like this. If only I had been a fan of Japanese baseball when these two faced each other. If only I had had time to actually finish reading the book! (It was a loaner from the library, and I will take it out again after I’ve read a handful of other books on my list.)
Kyojin-Hanshin Discourse is simply a guided discussion between two longtime rivals and legends of their respective teams. Giants’ ace Suguru Egawa (1979-1987) and Tigers’ cleanup hitter Masayuki Kakefu (1974-1988) sit down and talk about a great variety of topics, including the circumstances surrounding their respective drafting experience (quite different from one another), first appearances on their teams, major accomplishments, personal showdowns, retirements, post-retirement years, and what they would do if they were managers of their respective teams. Of course, the thread that ties the whole thing together is the great tradition that both teams have, and the differing philosophies that make them so endearing to generations of fans.
This book is written in such a way that the players talk mostly uninterrupted about their playing days, memories of each other, and so on. An interviewer (facilitator?) occasionally breaks the dialogue up with a question, correction or change of topic. Otherwise, it feels as though you got to sit down at the booth right behind two great baseball players (and friends?) at a family restaurant as they talked about baseball. Who could ask for anything more?
I can honestly say that this book has helped inspire me to learn more about the history of this game, particularly of these two teams, and of course mostly of the Hanshin Tigers. I’d love to read a similar book between other rivals or even teammates. Suggestions include: Yutaka Enatsu and Sadaharu Oh, Akinobu Okada and Tatsunori Hara, Randy Bass and Warren Cromartie. Got any others you’d like to read about? (I personally want to write one of these with Gene Bacque!)