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Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey

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Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
The March 28, 2003 Daily Yomiuri [Link] has Tuffy Rhodes's thoughts on baseball, Japan, and life.

Rhodes talks about his responsibilities to his team mates and the fans. Tuffy stresses why he felt it was important to learn speak fluent Japanese and adjust to the culture.
Comments
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: Apr 1, 2003 9:30 AM | HT Fan ]

The link seems to be for a story about Godzilla. Would it be possible for someone to find and post the interview with Rhodes? I'd love to read it.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: Kiyoshi | Posted: Apr 1, 2003 4:22 PM | HAN Fan ]

Sorry I guess I gave the wrong link from the Daily Yomiuri!

Hopefully this is the Tuffy Rhodes' link.

[Admin: Sorry for not double checking - I've gotten to trust a number of you and, in a hurry, didn't properly check the link.]
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: Apr 1, 2003 6:15 PM | HT Fan ]

Thaaaaaaaaaaaat's more like it - thanks guys. Good article.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Apr 1, 2003 7:09 PM | YBS Fan ]

I can really relate to Rhodes' story. While my profession may be different, there are a lot of similarities. I've gone from "henna gaijin-san" (sung to the tune of Shimura Ken's "Henna oji-san" with bon odori arm movements) to a respected member of both my community and development team. Like Rhodes says, it's all a matter of having the right attitude and adjusting to Japanese culture and ways of doing things. This goes for anyone in any profession.

I don't know very many foreigners here in Japan. But most of the few that I know have that same "I'm American, and everything should be done like it is in America" complex that they can't get past. (Read some of the Japan Times' letters to the editor for an idea of what I mean.) Ball players who have trouble with it hardly last a year. Those in other professions can last longer if the pay is high enough (i.e. more than I earn). And there are some whos only pleasure seems to be to complain about how things are done here. I really don't understand what keeps them around. Maybe an unwillingness to admit defeat?

Anyway, the more I learn about Rhodes, the more I like him. He's got the right attitude.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: Apr 2, 2003 9:47 AM | HT Fan ]

- I don't know very many foreigners here in Japan. But most of the few that I know have that same "I'm American, and everything should be done like it is in America" complex that they can't get past.

A mate of mine from the USA (now long-term resident in Japan) told me an amusing story of how his father visited Japan and insisted on buying a Quarter Pounder With Cheese and paying with a $10 bill. Sorta reminds me of the people Rhodes and Westbaystars-san refer to.

- Anyway, the more I learn about Rhodes, the more I like him. He's got the right attitude.

Exactly. Those who last a long time and perform well are generally the ones who make an effort to fit in with their new teammates and surroundings (and who are generally rewarded in terms of performance and popularity). People such as Bass and O'Malley spring to mind.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 5:54 AM ]

List of "Gaijin" players who adjusted culturally to Japan well:

    Roberto "Chico" Barbon
    Gene Bacque Hanshin Tigers
    Mike Solomko Hanshin Tigers
    Brad "Animal" Lesley Hankyu Braves
    John Sipin Taiyo Whales-Yomiuri Giants
    Leon Lee Lotte Orions
    Leron Lee Lotte Orions
    Orestes Destrade Seibu Lions
    Warren Cromartie Yomiuri Giants
    Dwayne Hosey Yakult Swallows
    Tuffy Rhodes Kintetsu Buffaloes

Anyone else?? Please follow up....

More Foreigners Who Made It in Japan
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 9:13 AM | HT Fan ]

Does Yasuaki Taihoh (Dragons, Tigers, Dragons again) count? He's Taiwanese. There's the above-mentioned Bass and O'Malley, of course. I wonder if Bobby Rose's saga this year disqualifies him.
Re: More Foreigners Who Made It in Japan
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 10:26 AM ]

If you count him, you have to count Sadaharu Oh (Giants) and Shosei Go (Giants) who were legendary Taiwanese - Chinese NPB players, and Jiten Haku (Toei) who was also a formidable Korean player. Also Yonamine (Giants) who is American.

If you count players of Korean descent, the list goes on and on: Kaneda, Harimoto, Sekiguchi, etc.

Chinese and Korean players don't count because Asians generally have less problem blending in to Japanese culture.
Sekiguchi?
[ Author: yakult toughman | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 11:34 AM | YAK Fan ]

Who is Sekiguchi?
Re: Sekiguchi?
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 1:16 PM | YBS Fan ]

I only know of Iori Sekiguchi, now with the Buffaloes. From the information I've seen, he was born in Saitama. I don't know if he's from Korean ancestory or not.
Re: Sekiguchi?
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 5, 2003 9:49 AM ]

Sorry Sekiguchi Seiji is Taiwanese not Korean. He is a former Nishitetsu Lion and managed the Kintetsu Buffaloes.
Re: More Foreigners Who Made It in Japan
[ Author: PLNara | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 12:02 AM | HT Fan ]

- I wonder if Bobby Rose's saga this year disqualifies him.

I don't think so. His abrupt departure doesn't nullify his 8 all-star quality seasons in Yokohama, and his contributions to NPB. Parodoxically, if he hadn't been such a great player, his sudden retirement wouldn't have been such a big deal.

Also, don't forget that Randy Bass also had an acrimonious departure from the Hanshin Tigers. I suppose it's a bit different, but I never hear anyone talk about Bass' departure, only his contributions to the Tigers last yusho.
Foreigners that Fit in Japan
[ Author: Kiyoshi | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 9:48 AM | HAN Fan ]

Goose Gossage - Fukuoka Daei Hawks

Gossage and his wife and kids loved Fukuoka. He loved the food and the environment of Fukuoka for his family.

Read his book "Goose on the Loose."

His wife took her sister and friends for a bike trip throughout Japan after Gossage returned to the U.S.A.
Re: Foreigners that Fit in Japan
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 10:29 AM ]

Man, that is interesting. Gossage looks like a typical gruff and mean AMERICAN dude.

Sometimes he appears on TV as a commentator and he seems to be a gentleman. Nothing like the guy who dominated as a reliever for the Yanks in the late 70's.
And More...
[ Author: Guest: Jeff Matlock | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 10:38 AM ]

Some more: Roy White, Clete Boyer, Don Blasingame, George Altman.
Re: And More...
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 2:05 AM ]

The question is whether or not they successfully adjusted to living in Japan. I agree with you on George Altman. I was in the same class as George Altman Jr. at St. Mary's International School back in the '70s. Very nice boy. His father was also a very nice man. Well respected by the Japanese people.

It seems to me that foreign players in the Osaka area adjusted to Japanese culture better. Many of the Hanshin Tigers and Hankyu Braves players.

I forgot to mention Daryl Spencer. He was very well liked by Hankyu fans and I think he did enjoy living in Japan. He had a very nice relationship with Hankyu Manager Yukio Nishimoto.
And More...
[ Author: PLNara | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 12:10 PM | HT Fan ]

How about:

    Bobby Rose, Yokohama
    Alonzo Powell, Chunichi
    Domingo Martinez, Seibu-Yomiuri
    Roberto Petagine, Yakult-Yomiuri
    Boomer Wells, Hankyu-Orix
    Charlie Manual, Kintetsu

My vote would go to Bobby Rose as the best foreign batter in NPB history. I know Bass had two triple crowns, but I think Rose was a better all-around hitter for a longer period of time.

Re: And More...
[ Author: Guest: Suraj | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 4:27 PM ]

Whoa there!! Rose better than Bass??? The only 2 things Rose can do better than Bass are run and play a harder defensive position (2B vs. 1B).

That's it. I'll go look for some stats now (any one know where I can find career stats for Randy Bass and Bobby Rose?) But I just had to voice my disagreement to this.

Bass gave the Tigers a championship with power, avg. and clutch hitting, with help only from Kakefu. Rose was instrumental in Bay's championship, but they had a pretty strong lineup and excellent pitching.
Re: And More...
[ Author: Guest: Suraj | Posted: Apr 3, 2003 4:50 PM ]

From The Baseball Guru:


POS LName FName PTS AB R H HR RBI SB BB AVG SLG G MVP GoldGlove
1B Bass Randy 74 2208 387 743 202 486 5 299 0.337 0.660 1 0
2B Rose Bobby 122.5 3929 574 1275 167 808 16 488 0.325 0.531 998 0 1

I omitted in my last message that another thing going for Rose is his relative longevity over Bass, as Bass's career in Japan was cut short due to his son's illness.

Anyway, what I'd like to do is multiply Bass's stats by 1.779, which is Rose's AB/Bass's AB ratio.

Let's go through them one by one:

    BA (doesn't change): Bass .337 vs Rose .325
    SLG (doesn't change): Bass .660 vs. Rose .531
    OBP: Not available, but Bass has clear advantage given higher BA, hits, BBs.
    Hits: Bass 1321 vs Rose 1275
    HR: Bass 360 vs Rose 167 (Bass had more than Rose even in his limited time here)
    RBI: Bass 864 vs Rose 808
    BB: Bass 531 vs Rose 488

Again, Bass gets penalized for his shorter tenure in Japan, but while they were playing, Bass was clearly the superior player, even taking into consideration Rose's superiority with the glove.

Bass v. Rose
[ Author: PLNara | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 12:42 AM | HT Fan ]

- Again, Bass gets penalized for his shorter tenure in Japan, but while they were playing, Bass was clearly the superior player, even taking into consideration Rose's superiority with the glove.

That was part of my original point "Rose was a better all-around player for a longer period of time." But I didn't realise that Bass's batting average was that high. Or that he had more home runs.

I'm not a huge believer of inflating stats to reflect a potentially longer career, but I will concede that had Bass played 8 seasons, his lifetime numbers would be better than Rose's. But who knows? It's moot anyway; they were both great players.

If you're interested, and can read Japanese, here is a list of the all-time batting records of foreign players in Japan. [Link] It doesn't include the 2001 or 2002 seasons, but if you look at the career numbers, Leon Lee is pretty clearly the best player. He holds the records for Hits (1579), home runs (283), runs (912), and is fifth in batting average (.320). Strangely the RBI stats are not listed, but Lee has 884. So career wise, I think Lee was the most productive player, probably followed by Boomer Wells, Rose, or Tuffy Rhodes.
Re: And More...
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 12:48 AM ]

If you want the best career of an American, I'd probably chose Wakabayshi, but given his Japanese heritage, one would expect him to adapt better to Japan. If we chose someone without such cultural/heritage ties, I think a fine argument can be made for Boomer Wells, who rates highest among the rest in my Greatness Points system. He had a rather long career for a gaijin (which suggests he adapted well), and with his Triple Crowns, etc., he certainly has to be considered.

As for Rose vs. Bass, it depends on whether you want the whole career or just a slice of it. If you want the whole career, you've got to take Rose. If not, Rose still has an argument as a middle infielder and a good hitter, though I'd probably lean to Bass. If you're talking about only at the plate for less than a career, you've got to take Bass, primarily because of his far superior power.

Jim Albright
Re: And More...
[ Author: 1908 | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 4:09 AM | HT Fan ]

Doesn't Rose deserve some credit for his longevity? And wasn't Bass dismissed because he put his family ahead of his job? -- something you'd rarely see happen in Japan. (Not saying I disagree with Randy but I share his cultural view.)
Re: And More...
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 1:58 AM ]

Please remember here that we are discussing about how well the player adjusted to living in Japan. We are not talking about who is the best.
Re: And More...
[ Author: Guest: JIm Albright | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 12:25 PM ]

- Please remember here that we are discussing about how well the player adjusted to living in Japan. We are not talking about who is the best.

I don't know that this discussion should be as limited as you suggest. However, even if I were to agree with your wishes, I think that how well a player performs is not only evidence of his own talent, but in the case of gaijin, of how well they adapted to Japan.

Certainly, there are other, more subjective pieces of evidence to consider, but a major advantage of the evidence I am discussing is that it is objective. Further, the way I prefer to define the best strongly favors a longer career, which is certainly strong evidence of a successful adjustment to Japan.

Jim Albright
Re: And More...
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Apr 5, 2003 1:12 AM ]

I should add to my previous post in this topic that few (I can't think of any, but there may be some) gaijin who adjusted poorly to Japan lasted more than 2 seasons there. I don't see that as a surprise. Guys like Bob Horner, who, according to what I have read, had a classic "ugly American" attitude about his stay in Japan, usually stay no more than a season.

I'm sure the fans notice the attitude, and aren't likely to be overjoyed by it. The negativity surrounding the situation is likely to show up in a poorer than anticipated performance by the player. Management would be foolish not to look at all the negatives that come with such a situation to see if they want guys like Horner back. Usually, they don't. This is even more likely if the player is getting a sizeable salary.

Of course, some of the survivors may not make the special effort to get along that Rhodes and some others have, but they've got to make some adjustments to get to that point.

Jim Albright
Clyde Wright
[ Author: Guest: Jeff Matlock | Posted: Apr 6, 2003 7:47 AM ]

One long-term victim of what Kalervo Oberg called "culture shock" was Jaret Wright's father, Clyde Wright, who'd pitched a no-hitter in his MLB days. He spent several years embroiled in one confrontation after another with Kyojin management. He earned his nickname: "Crazy."
Re: Clyde Wright
[ Author: PLNara | Posted: Apr 8, 2003 10:40 PM | HT Fan ]

- One long-term victim .... was ... Clyde Wright...

I was thinking of him as well. Darrel May is another guy that comes to mind, though I think he might be remembered as more of a whiner than "Crazy," like Wright. Still, he did his job, particularly well in 2000.
Re: Clyde Wright
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 9, 2003 2:56 AM ]

He was already nicknamed "crazy" in the MLB.
Re: And More...
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 4, 2003 2:07 AM ]

I vote for Boomer. He appeared on a Japanese TV commercial. I think Bass enjoyed living in Japan but in the end he was like Bobby Rose.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: weirdgaijin | Posted: Apr 5, 2003 2:37 AM ]

- Doesn't Rose deserve some credit for his longevity? And wasn't Bass dismissed because he put his family ahead of his job? -- something you'd rarely see happen in Japan. (Not saying I disagree with Randy but I share his cultural view.)

Hold it! If my memory serves me right, Bass's child had some serious health problems and was sent back to the U.S. for treatment. It's not the case where Bass left the Tigers because he missed home or wanted to use his salary to open a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, he left to be with his ill son.

At the time, I HATED the Tigers' management for being selfish and not understanding Bass's feelings and emotions. I don't think Bass would have been effective as a player while his son was thousands of miles away in a hospital.

If you're going to compare Bass and Rose, shouldn't it be the statistical average of a year instead of multiplying Bass's AB by 1.799 to equate it to Rose? I'm not a statistician by any means.

Now, are there any suggestions for the potential "impact" of an American suketto who was unable to adapt and left leaving a bitter taste? I nominate Bob Horner (I think I spelt his name right) of the Yakult Swallows. Again, if I remember correctly, he was here around the same time as Bass, potentially rival to Bass in terms of production, but couldn't handle being in Japan, and left midway his second season when he heard the Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians needed power in their line-up.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: 1908 | Posted: Apr 7, 2003 1:23 AM | HT Fan ]

- Hold it! If my memory serves me right, Bass's child had some serious health problems and was sent back to the U.S. for treatment. It's not the case where Bass left the Tigers because he missed home or wanted to use his salary to open a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, he left to be with his ill son.

You are correct, sir. Like I said before, I don't disagree with Bass's decision but I'm processing the story through the eyes of an American. Judging from your response, I'd guess that you share that bias. Keep in mind that Tigers' management didn't before you pass judgment.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: Guest: Mike Todd | Posted: Apr 5, 2003 12:00 PM ]

Getting back to Tuffy Rhodes, he seems to be doing the right things to give himself a shot at managing or coaching in Japan. If NPB ever has a black manager, he would be a leading candidate.
Managerial Chance
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 6, 2003 2:19 PM ]

I agree.

It seems to me that NPB tends to give people who have experience in Japan a shot at managing.

Good luck to Tuffy.
Valentine
[ Author: weirdgaijin | Posted: Apr 12, 2003 1:36 PM ]

Bobby Valentine played in Japan before managing the Orions?
Re: Valentine
[ Author: seiyu | Posted: Apr 14, 2003 3:29 AM ]

No.

He came to the Orions with Eric Hillman, Pete Incaviglia, and Julio Franco. He was quite popular in Japan.
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: Guest: Guest | Posted: Mar 27, 2005 7:08 PM ]

Tuffy does have a great understanding of the Japanese language as well as a great attitude. He is a very nice guy and easy to talk to!
Re: Tuffy Rhodes Japan Journey
[ Author: Guest: Ann Nonymous | Posted: Jun 26, 2008 2:39 AM ]

Don Blasingame was in Japan 16 years. I would say that has to be up there for the longest tenure in Japan.
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