Hibari Misora sings, “I want to go back to the U.S.”… In memoriam, former famous Yakult player “flirts with his wife in front of the players”, a great secret story. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Hibari Misora sings, “I want to go back to the U.S.”… In memoriam, former famous Yakult player “flirts with his wife in front of the players”, a great secret story.

Horner, Parrish, Petagini ....... An interpreter and scout who was close to the great foreigners who made an era reveals their unknown private lives.

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Parrish and Mr. Nakajima at Hanshin and Yakult. At Africa, a restaurant in Shinjuku that serves Parrish’s favorite crocodile meat.

A famous professional baseball player has passed away: Kuniaki Nakajima, former international manager of the Yakult baseball team, who died of chronic heart failure on May 29. Following Part I: Ramirez invited him on a luxurious cruise, Part II: The Untold Story of Bob Horner, Roberto Petagini, and other big-name assistants Nakajima was involved in acquiring.

The following is a rare glimpse of Mr. Nakajima’s voice when he was interviewed by “FRIDAY Digital” on August 16, 2007 (content has been partially revised).

Horner: “Carrying 5 million yen in cash to go club hopping.”

Horner, who joined Yakult in 1987, was a solid major leaguer who played cleanup for the Braves. He hit his first homer in his debut game in Japan against Hanshin, and the next day he hit three homers. The media praised him as “a real big leaguer.

The coverage of his career continued to intensify. The media poured into his apartment day after day, and when he entered a restaurant, they even asked him what he had eaten. Horner must have been getting stressed out. He completely closed his mouth to the press, saying to me, “I have nothing more to say to you.

I have nothing more to say. You can talk about it any way you like.

He had always been a drinker, but his drinking had increased in Japan. On the trip, he carried 5 million yen in cash, went to many clubs, and got drunk. He was so drunk he couldn’t stop when he got back to his hotel.

Bring me beer from all the rooms!

he exclaimed, and drank until morning.

In the end, Horner returned to Japan after only one year, leaving behind the quote, “There was another baseball game on the other side of the world. But it was not that he disliked Japan. After retiring from the Majors the following year, he told me, “I didn’t have any serious injuries in Japan.

I’m glad I didn’t have any serious injuries in Japan. (I’m still glad I didn’t cause trouble for Yakult (by batting .300 and hitting over 30 home runs).

Horner’s attitude, which showed that even though he did not fit in with his surroundings, he still managed to achieve results, seems to have taught me what it means to be a true professional.

Parrish “Listening to Hibari Misora sing, ‘I want to go back to the U.S. ……'”

My favorite food is alligator meat.

Larry Parrish, who became the home run king with the Yakult baseball team in 1989, once declared, “My favorite food is crocodile meat. There was a restaurant called “Africa” in Shinjuku, Tokyo, where Parrish loved to eat alligator meat.

Unlike his bold image, however, Larry Parrish is naive. Perhaps because she was not accustomed to Japan’s highly controlled society, she was always homesick when she drank alcohol. I used to listen to Hibari Misora’s “Like a Stream on the River. Even though I didn’t understand the words, the melancholy melody must have made me feel nostalgic. He cried shakily, saying, “I want to go back to the U.S.A. …….” In the end, he did not sign a contract for a second year with Yakult and returned home!

Petagini “flirts with his wife in front of the players during meals.”

After joining Yakult in 1999, Petrazini’s wife was a big turn-off. He took his wife with him when he went on tours. He was always with her. Petagini’s wife was the mother of a classmate of his, 25 years older than him.

My first surprise was at a party held during the first camp in Japan. In front of the players and coaches, he started flirting with his wife without a care in the world. He scooped soup with a spoon and brought it to his wife’s mouth. …… I was stunned to see him like that.

Whenever I went to Petagini’s house to visit him, he was always “wife first. Whenever they ran out of beer, he was the one who went to buy more, not her. When they went out, Petagini would kneel at the door and help his wife put on her shoes.

It was then-director Tsutomu Wakamatsu who saved Petrazini’s loving wife, who could have disrupted the harmony of the team if she had made a mistake. He left her to her own devices, saying, “As long as she does her job well, there’s no problem. If he had been a nagging manager, Petrazini would not have been able to achieve enough success to win the home run crown twice.


Mr. Nakajima shared his valuable story with “FRIDAY Digital. We would like to express our sincere condolences and pray for his soul rest in peace.

Horner had a bad reputation in the media as an “unsociable foreigner” and a “heavy drinker.” Before returning to Japan, he sent a signed photo to Mr. Nakajima with the inscription, “To my best friend.
Mr. and Mrs. Petagini with Mr. Nakajima. In the back row are employees of Yakult Honsha, with whom he had a close friendship. Taken at a teppanyaki restaurant in Tokyo in the early ’00s.
From left to right: Hilton, Mr. Nakajima, and Sadaharu Oh of the Giants, who worked for Yakult from ’78 to ’79. (The photo was taken before a Giants game in 1978 at the request of Hilton, who was a fan of Oh’s.)
With O’Malley, who also won the top batting title in his Hanshin days. Taken before the ’96 season during Yakult’s camp in Yuma, U.S.A.
Nakajima and Parrish (center) appeared on the TV program “Rare Play, Good Play” in 1989. Second from left is Masayuki Kakefu of the Hanshin, third from right is Masaki Saito of the Giants.
Ramirez, who consulted with Parrish on public and private matters during his Yakult days, invited Nakajima and his three daughters on a Caribbean cruise in the off-season of 2009 as a way of repaying the favor.
Nakajima, who worked as an international scout for the Yakult and Giants, was involved in the acquisition of more than 100 foreign players and consulted on their private lives.
  • Former international scout Kuniaki Nakajima

    Born in 1952. After graduating from St. Mary's International High School in 1972, he joined Nankai as a temporary interpreter. Joined Yakult in '73. Helped acquire Ramirez, Petagini, and others. Moved to the Giants in 2005. Retired in 2012. Author of "Chikyu no Urasaide ni Motto Sotsuwan Differntai Yakyuu ga Ita" (Another Different Baseball on the Uraside of the Earth) (Hinode Publishing), "Puroyakyu Saikyoku no Suketsugen-ron" (Professional Baseball: The Strongest Theory of Helpers) (Kodansha), etc.

  • Photo Courtesy of Kuniaki Nakajima

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