Today in baseball history - March 4 - The father of Japanese baseball

The Father of Japanese baseball

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA | MARCH 4, 1927 - Horace Wilson died on this date in 1927 at his home in San Francisco. Who was Horace Wilson? He was the father of Japanese baseball.

Here's the story:

Baseball hasn't existed in Japan as long as it has in the United States, but our national pastime has been part of Japanese culture for over 130 years? According to Japanese baseball officials, the game was brought to the Land of the Rising Sun in the 1870's by Horace Wilson, a Tokyo University English Professor from the United States.

Wilson was born on a Gorham, Maine farm in 1843. After the Civil War he headed west to California and later to Japan. One day in 1872 (or 1873, depending who's telling the story) he decided his students at the First Higher School of Tokyo, now known as Tokyo University, needed some recreation. He got their blood pumping with a bat and ball, and taught them the game of baseball, which he probably learned during the Civil War.

According to Steve Solloway of the Portland, (Maine) PressHerald, a game was organized a few weeks later between the Japanese players and a group of foreigners, one of whom was Horace Wilson. The foreigners won 34-11 and a Japanese pastime was born.

Contributing sources:
Japan Baseball Daily
Portland PressHerald, May 20, 2007, by Steve Solloway 
Horace Wilson 
More on Baseball in Japan

This baseball history story about Horace Wilson is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.