A ball signed by the late U.S. slugger Babe Ruth during his visit to Japan in 1934 will be displayed every Thursday from next week at Nichiro Building in Hakodate, Hokkaido.
Ruth (1895-1948) visited Hakodate as captain of a U.S. baseball team at the invitation of fishing firm Nichiro Gyogyo Kaisha Ltd. to play a match with a Japanese team captained by Jiro Kuji, former Nichiro Gyogyo employees said.
Nichiro Gyogyo, the predecessor of Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc., arranged the match to promote Hakodate's reconstruction after a fire burned a third of the city earlier in the year, they said.
Kuji as well as Ruth signed the ball, which was thrown by then Hakodate Assembly President Ryosaku Tosaka in the opening pitch ceremony for the match. The U.S. team's 5-2 win is also recorded on the ball.
At the request of an association of former Nichiro Gyogyo employees, Tosaka's eldest son Kosaku, 80, looked for the ball at his home in Chofu, Tokyo, and donated it to the association.