In the fall of 1949, just four years after the end of World War II, the U.S. and Japan were on their way to rebuilding the bridges that had literally and figuratively been burnt since 1941. One of the first steps on that road to friendship was a goodwill tour bringing American baseball to the Land of the Rising Sun.
In October, a man named Lefty O’Doul was responsible for organizing a baseball tour featuring the team he managed at the time — the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. The tour was a huge hit and contributed at least some small part to Japan’s passion for America’s pastime.
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