20 August 2004

Philippines-Japan Prewar Baseball Rivalry

In ... 1913, the first Far Eastern Games were held in Manila. Billed as a biennial Asian Olympics, the first games featured competition in eleven events, including baseball. The Philippines won eight of eleven titles but lost the baseball competition to a team from Meiji University representing Japan. Two years later, the Philippines got revenge, winning the baseball championship at the second Far Eastern Games in Shanghai. From 1915 to 1925, the Philippines won five of six Far Eastern baseball titles, losing only the 1917 championship to a team from Waseda University....

Baseball continued to thrive in the Philippines until World War II, with Japan and the Philippines developing a particularly healthy baseball rivalry. Another article in The Sporting News of May 15, 1930, noted "the school championship of Japan attracted more spectators, average per game, than the World's [sic] Series in the United States" that year. The article then went on to say: "The National Game goes splendidly in the Philippine Islands" as well "and is played excellently by the natives. The Japanese say they cannot be outbatted by the Filipinos, but the latter affirm they are better baseball players than their neighbors to the North."
SOURCE: Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia, by Joseph A. Reaves (U. Nebraska Press, 2002), pp. 102-103

The chapter on baseball in the Philippines is much weaker than the earlier chapters.


竹板凳 said...

hi Joel, I am researching the baseball event in the Far Eastern Games and have hit a block when trying to find out the names of the Filipino players.

I often see this page when I am googling, so I thought I'd try and see if you know where I can find such information.

Like you've said, Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia didn't have much to say on Filipino baseball. I've looked into a book called Asian Pacific Americans and Baseball: A History by Joel S. Franks, but only was able to get a few names out, such as Birtulpo.

Most of sources I find are in Japanese, which is good for getting the names of Japanese and Chinese players since it is written mostly in Kanji, but horrible for finding the names of Pinoy players.

A list of name such as
Pitchers: ドザヌ、ビルチュルボ(Birtulpo)
Catchers: シイ‧プラトン(C. Platón)、シー‧プラトン(疑同シイ‧プラトン)
Infielders: イラナン、カンセコ(Canseco)、シリセコ、レギス(Regis)、レジス(疑同レギス)、ベルナレス、ヱム‧プラトン(M. Platón)
Outfielders: パブロー(Pablo)、ジャロビロ、トルレス(Torres)、トレス(疑同トルレス)
Unknown: ベルモンテ(Belmonte)、モンタルボ(Montalvo)、サンテアゴ(Santiago)、ゴゾム、ロクサス(Roxas)、ジャビヱル、カシミロ

is hard to decode, and hard for others (even present day Japanese) to know who is who. The names in parentheses are only my guesses. I have to go through multiple Japanese courses, type out the katagana one by one (I'm Taiwanese and have very poor understanding of Japanese), then guess what the names might have been originally.

It would be great if there's a source to look up all the names of the Pinoy players.

Thanks for your time.

Joel said...

Hi 竹板凳,

I'm sorry to say I have no idea where to find better sources on baseball in the Philippines. However, in looking around for sources online, I did come across an interesting account of baseball in the Hawaiian Kingdom.