2017-18 Offseason Reading Program

Last year I posted a list of 8 books that I had hoped to plow through during the offseason. I got through most of them, plus a few extras I picked up along the way, and just a day after the 2017 season ended, I completed the final book from that list. Well, I have picked up a whole bunch more literature that I am hoping to get through this offseason. Ambitious, yes. But I have made a vow that I will not buy more books until these ones have been read… so at the very least, money will stay in my account for a little longer than usual.

Anyhow, without further ado, here’s the 2017-18 offseason reading program!

English Books

 Nikkei Baseball: Japanese American Players from Immigration to Internment to the Major Leagues – Samuel O. Regalado

The title pretty much says it all. I have actually already started reading this one, and it is pretty exhaustive. As a non-Japanese, non-Nikkei, non-American, I am having a hard time making solid connection with its content. It is pretty straightforward in relating history, and does not have a particularly strong narrative so far.

 The Only Rule is it Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team – Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

I believe this one came recommended by Zorny the Graphics Guy. Looking forward to tearing into it.

 Bigger Than the Game: Restitching a Major League Life – Dirk Hayhurst

After reading the first book the man wrote, I am ready for another light, humorous read with fun insights into the mind of a fringe major league ball player.

 Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia – Joseph A. Reaves

I suppose I feel like it’s time for me to expand my field of vision, so to speak. I know a fair amount about the history of baseball in Japan, but what about Korea? Taiwan? The rest of Asia? This book will hopefully give me some insight into how the game has spread out this way in general.

 Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan – Robert K. Fitts

I have heard nothing but good things about this book. Probably top on my list of “can’t wait to read” books! Highly recommended by Michael Westbay, who is one of the baystars giants of English NPB coverage in Japan.

Japanese Books

 阪神タイガース黒歴史 (Dark History of the Hanshin Tigers) – Takashi Hirai

Everyone likes a scandal or two, and this club has more than its share! From what I understand, this book details some of the club’s darkest moments. It’s always fun to read some of the juicier details of how things went awry back in the day.


 阪神タイガースの謎 (Mysteries of the Hanshin Tigers) – Yoshinori Karawatari

Though this book also looks into some of the team’s stranger episodes, it seems to be on the lighter side of things. I have already used several anecdotes from this one as an introduction to the podcast during 2017, so it’s already come in handy. This offseason is my chance to read it from cover to cover.

 炎のエース (Flamethrowing Ace)Minoru Murayama

Who wouldn’t want to read the memoirs of the most celebrated pitcher in club history? To date, the late Murayama remains the lone pitcher to have his number (11) retired by the team. It will be interesting to see how he talks about his relationships with his rivals (both on other teams and within the same organization).

 左腕の誇り (Pride of a Lefty)Yutaka Enatsu

I repeat myself: who wouldn’t want to read the memoirs of one of the most celebrated pitchers in club history? This man’s career and life were shrouded in much more controversy than the aforementioned Murayama, and surely this book will help shed some light onto what went down during Enatsu’s time with the Tigers and beyond.

 1985: 猛虎がひとつになった年 (1985: The Year the Fierce Tigers Became One) – Yasushi Washida

When I bought this, I thought it would be more magazine-style, with pictures and short articles about different aspects of the team, including interviews with players. I was wrong. It’s a 300-page book, with chapters devoted to some of the “minor characters” on the team that won the lone Nippon Series championship in club history. Should be a good one.

 泣き笑いデータ – 阪神タイガース1985-2003 (Data That Will Make You Laugh and Cry – Hanshin Tigers 1985-2003)

I bought this one with the intention of using it to understand the club’s darker years. There’s not a lot of in depth data – no sabermetrics for sure – but it will surely put some facts and figures behind the undeniable truth that this team really stank for 17 seasons before their first pennant of the 21st century in 2003.

That’s all I got. For now. As a bonus, I still have the History and Treasures book that I can read from cover to cover (I have perused and enjoyed it), not to mention an encyclopedia put out at the start of the Heisei Era about the club’s history up to that point:

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.