All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Horace Wilson, Japanese Baseball Hall of Famer

A man from Gorham is credited with bringing baseball to Japan.
Horace Wilson, a Gorham farm boy who returned from the Civil War only to go west to California and eventually across the Pacific, is the man the Japanese say introduced baseball to their country. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
On a day in 1872 or a year later, depending on who's telling the story, Horace Wilson decided his students at the First Higher School of Tokyo needed to get away from their class lessons. A little physical exercise in the form of hitting a ball, throwing it and running would get the blood pumping.

He took them outdoors and introduced them to baseball, a game he had enjoyed, maybe from his time serving with the 12th Maine Regiment fighting Confederates in Louisiana. Weeks or months after Wilson's students took their swings, there was a seven-inning game between the Foreigners, with Wilson playing left field and scoring two runs, and a team of Japanese players. [Link]

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