Did you know that the legendary Babe Ruth played a baseball game at Koshien Stadium? That’s right, el Bambino came to the stadium in 1934 when it was still just 10 years old! He was in the twilight years of his career, and legend has it that he was going through a rough period in his life. When approached about the possibility of touring Japan with other MLB All-Stars, Ruth flat out refused. But when a Japanese businessman involved in the venture showed him the poster made in Japan advertising the tour…
his countenance softened and he said, “Alright, I’ll go!” (By the way, this poster can be seen in the Koshien Stadium Museum.)
Anyhow, to commemorate his presence at Koshien Stadium, there is a plaque located just a few meters from the building itself, in an area called Mizuno Square.
Here is a look at the two elements of the monument, closer up:
This is what it says (essentially):
King of Baseball Babe Ruth Monument
Babe Ruth came here to Koshien Stadium in 1934, wowing fans and gaining an appreciation for the joy of Japanese baseball. This relief was hand-carved by the great artist Yutaka Matsuoka, in order to pass this historical event on to future generations.
In the spring of 2005 a sports museum was built in Baltimore (Babe Ruth’s place of birth) and included a room dedicated to his visit to Japan. Overjoyed with this news, Hanshin Koshien Stadium and the Hanshin Tigers, who owe much of their prosperity to Mr. Ruth’s visit, with the cooperation of Mr. Matsuoka, re-created this monument and donated it to the sports museum, in order to share Babe Ruth’s great accomplishments on his tour of Japan with the people of America.
This monument has been erected here to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Hanshin Electric Railway Company, as well as the 70th anniversary of the Hanshin Tigers baseball club.