Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Slugging It Out in Japan: An American Major Leaguer in the Tokyo Outfield
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on January 25, 2012
Warren Cromartie had one of the most enduring baseball careers of any North American to have played in Japan. His book is a detailed insight into his life and baseball journey in the U.S. and Japan.

Cromartie may strike some readers as at times presenting a bleating disposition. However, he is humble enough to admit that his attitude is influenced by his own egotism at times.

His story draws light to the fact that baseball across the world has its own local brand, and whilst he found Japan at times racially and culturally challenging, he was able to learn many great new skills and attain considerable success from his effort.

Nicholas R.W. Henning - Australian Baseball Author
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on August 6, 1997
Warren Cromartie was accepted by Japan as a gaijin because he accepted Japan himself. Thru his book you will feel his ups and downs while playing for Japan's highest profile baseball team: The Kyojin's aka The Yomiuri Giants. I strongly believe that Cro stuck out 6 years in Tokyo, not because of the big bucks but his bonding and friendship with the legendary Sadaharu Oh. Thank you Cro, for sharing your experience and journey.
Don't delay if you are a baseball fan, get the book today!
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on February 1, 2000
Cromartie played long enough in Japan to actually develop moments of affection for the experience, a statement not normally made of foreign players. His description of the normalcy of race prejudice there will stun people from countries where such prejudice is not considered acceptable. He tells a lot about Japanese life as well as Japanese baseball from the perspective of a man who earned the respect of his Japanese teammates as a leader. I find his commentary very revealing and strongly recommend this book.
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on August 30, 2001
I grew up watching Warren Cromartie play for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants during the late `80s. Cromartie was one of very few gaijin players who left a great impact, not only by the way he played the game, but also by his cocky attitude and behavior. For the Japanese media who love to stereotype American players as brashly self-arrogant, lazy, and powerful, Cromartie was such a perfect fit. Of course, they would not report on his side of story, this biography may be of a greater interest for those who viewed him as a gaijin those days. To me, the reader may miss the most interesting points if she just reads this book just as an account of "bizarre" experiences that an American went through in one of the most exotic places in the world.

With the presence of such colorful personalities as the manager Sadaharu Oh (whose career homerun record of 868 surpasses the American counterpart), his teammates, and old-fashioned traditionalists who would be labeled downright racists in many other civilized nations, the story never seems to bore the reader.

Unlike many other player biographies ghost written by mediocre sport writers, this is surprisingly an engaging book. Robert Whiting does a great job of incorporating his own views on cultural disparities between Japan and America into Cromartie's endeavor as a gaijin player. Many opinions expressed in the book overlap Whiting's other works on baseball, such as "You Gotta Have Wa" and "The Chrysanthemum and the Bad," but "Slugging It Out in Japan" is probably the most emotionally involved pieces of all.
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on January 11, 2002
It's a good book for those with some knowledge or basic interest in Japanese professional baseball, but for those who are only Major Leagues fans this can be very interesting too. Throughout the course of Cromartie's stay, a number of major leaguers and American players came into picture. Bill Gullickson became a teammate for a couple of seasons. Dick Davis (who later got deported for pot possession), Randy Bass, Doug DeCince, Dwight Smith, etc. were also there. There are interesting opinions and episodes about other players: Sanchez (Cal. Angels) was a teammate for 1/2 season but could get along with anyone; Shinozuka, a hitting machine and a friendly teammate; Cro's friendship with Oh; how Japan and especially the teams treated Randy Bass, who had the best single season offensive stats but was walked 4 times in the last game so he could not tie the homerun record; Kuwata, a pitching ace who befriended Gullickson; Egawa, another ace pitcher who often feigned injury to protect himself from overworking; Cro's infamous punching of a pitcher who beaned him; how most Japanese players never had much real education, as high schools were more like minor leagues, so the player mostly read mangas (comic strips) on bus rides. The issue of race and racism is also addressed: how gaijins are perceived -- which is different for Asians (especially Japanese-Korean players) and Americans, and whites and blacks. He also noted how devastated Gullickson felt after being barred from entering a restaurant because of his nationality. The span of 8 years covers a lot of insight and observations and anecdotes.
Cromartie came back to the States and played his last season with the Royals as a pinch hitter/1B and finished the season with a .307 average as a part time player.
Get this book. It's worth it.
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on February 25, 2015
While he does a very good job concerning the ups and downs of an American playing ball in Japan, this is not a book for kids. There are times when the f-bomb can be used to strongly emphasis a point but he goes way overboard in the use of the f-bomb. If it was "horrible weather" it does not have to be F----in' horrible weather.
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on January 11, 2002
It's a good book for those with some knowledge or basic interest in Japanese professional baseball, but for those who are only Major Leagues fans this can be very interesting too. Throughout the course of Cromartie's stay, a number of major leaguers and American players came into picture. Bill Gullickson became a teammate for a couple of seasons. Dick Davis (who later got deported for pot possession), Randy Bass, Doug DeCince, Dwight Smith, etc. were also there. There are interesting opinions and episodes about other players: Sanchez (Cal. Angels) was a teammate for 1/2 season but could get along with anyone; Shinozuka, a hitting machine and a friendly teammate; Cro's friendship with Oh; how Japan and especially the teams treated Randy Bass, who had the best single season offensive stats but was walked 4 times in the last game so he could not tie the homerun record; Kuwata, a pitching ace who befriended Gullickson; Egawa, another ace pitcher who often feigned injury to protect himself from overworking; Cro's infamous punching of a pitcher who beaned him; how most Japanese players never had much real education, as high schools were more like minor leagues, so the player mostly read mangas (comic strips) on bus rides. The issue of race and racism is also addressed: how gaijins are perceived -- which is different for Asians (especially Japanese-Korean players) and Americans, and whites and blacks. He also noted how devastated Gullickson felt after being barred from entering a restaurant because of his nationality. The span of 8 years covers a lot of insight and observations and anecdotes.
Cromartie came back to the States and played his last season with the Royals as a pinch hitter/1B and finished the season with a .307 average as a part time player.
Get this book. It's worth it.
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on June 7, 1999
warren cromartie gives a excellent detailed view of life in the japanese big leagues inside and out.he shares his down times(yankee go home among other things)and his climb to the top of the hill(cromartie please don't retire.) warren cromartie is my favorite baseball player and if you ever wanted to know about japanese baseball this book is a must have.also what the book fails to mention is that after retiring from japan cromartie came back here in 1991 to play 1 more major league time batting .326 with 1 home run for the kansas city royals in a clutch hitter roll before being released for good in 1992 spring training.awesome player and book.
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on October 28, 2002
Japanese baseball has always fascinated me. This is Warren Cromarte's experience condensed into a book. It reflects his own prejudices, pride, ignorance of Japenese culture, and ultimately his education and grudging acceptance of what he did not understand. The movie "Mr. Baseball" is, in many ways, based on this book.
It is amazing how some people look at Japan and see what is not there. For instance, one reviewer on this book said how most "Japanese players never had much real education, as high schools were more like minor leagues, so the player mostly read mangas (comic strips) on bus rides."
Mangas are much more than comic strips. They are books, written by adults largely for an adult audience. Business people with degrees read mangas.
In fact, the ignorance of Japanese culture reflects in many unfortunate incidences between Japanese citizens and American citizens. Mr. Cromartie's slugging of a pitcher more than illustates this point.
Baseball in Japan is brutal. They burn out their pitchers, for instance, rather than rotate them. In this book you'll see that Warren Cromartie started out his first season first as the hero that was going to save his team, then as the first half of the season wore on he was viewed by the press as a bum who wasn't worth the money they paid for him (Japanese players were, and maybe still are, paid very low salaries for the receipts they bring in for their owners). He then became a hero who batted very well on the second half of the season. Did Mr. Cromartie improve his batting? Perhaps. But more than likely by the second half the season the pitchers in Japan had worn out their arms, and could no longer throw as well.
Get this to learn Japanese culture, Japanese baseball, and one man's confusion and eventual acceptance of both.
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