'98 U.S.-Japan All Star Games (Nov. 6 to 15)

Sosa after the games
The day after the series finished, Sosa was still had a busy schedule in Tokyo. He coached the players of the Giants at the Tokyo Dome. He appeared to have been especially interested in working with homerun king Hideki Matsui. Sosa met Japan's Foreign Minister to finalize his request to send temporary homes built for the Hanshin Earthquake for victims of Hurricane Mitch in the Dominica Republic. He also was invited to the Foreign Correspondence Club, and of course, was interviewed on a major Japanese news show.

Japan vs. U.S. on Nov. 15
In the 3rd inning, the Japanese all stars batted a base hit one after another. It began with Takuro Ishii of the BayStars'. Ichiro of the BlueWave welcomed him home with a 3 base hit. In all, Japan scored 6 runs that inning. However, Sammy Sosa homered a 3 run the next inning--his 3rd homerun in Japan. In the 6th inning, the American side not only caught up with Anaheim Angels'Garret Anderson's hit, the game was reversed. The U.S. team won 9 to 8, and finished the series with 6 wins 2 losses,

U.S. vs. Japan on Nov. 14
The all stars are back at the Tokyo Dome. This time, the Major League Players were smashing the ball. Milwaukee Brewers' Fernando Vina hit a 3 run homer. Sammy Sosa blasted a large one to the center of the back stand. The U.S. scored in all 9 and Japan null.

Japan vs. U.S. on Nov. 12
Sammy Sosa celebrated his 30th birthday in Osaka. He had a base hit and had a runner come home off a double he hit in the final inning. Ichiro could not steal base today. As a matter of fact, he was killed as he aimed for second. Japan lost 0 to 2. 5 U.S. Major League pitchers succeeded in a shut out relay.

U.S. vs. Japan on Nov. 11
The popular series was held at the Osaka Dome. Curt Shilling started for the U.S. all stars for the 2nd time. Hideki Matsui had 2 base hits off Shilling's fast balls, but they did not lead to scores. The Japanese player who actually scored was Ichiro. A runner came home off his sacrifice fly in the 6th inning. That was the only run batted in in this game. Tetsuro Kawajiri of the Hanshin Tigers almost shut out the American side. The record was hindered by Vina of the Brewers who deliberately moved his left leg toward Kawajiri's pitch and walked to first. Kawajira left the 9th inning after taking one out. All in all, Japan won this game 1 to 0. The 2 sides are tied with 2 wins 2 losses.

Japan vs. U.S. on Nov. 10
The teams went down to the southern capital of Japan-- Fukuoka city and played at the Fukuoka Dome, the home ground of the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. In the first inning, Giants' Hideki Matsui blasted a homerun. This was the first homer driven in by the Japanese side in the series. Home pitcher Kazuhiro Takeda hurled 5 innings losing only a run to Sammy Sosa's sacrifice fly. Meanwhile, Japanese players were good at stealing bases. For example, Kazuo Matsui of the Lions got to first in the 5th inning. He stole to 2nd, 3rd and the came home. In the 6th, he drove in 2 runs. The Japan all stars at last defeated the visitors 7 to 2.

U.S vs. Japan. on Nov. 8
Japan's top rookie Kenshin Kawakami of the Dragons' started this time. He was in a total mess losing 8 runs. He was unable to finish 3 inning. Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays blasted a 3 run off Kawakami, then in the 4th, a 2 run off Central League's best pitcher Kenjiro Kawasaki of the Swallows. Japan was behind 1 to 10 at that point. In the 6th inning, the Japanese players' bats started to strike the ball. It was Atsushi Kataoka of the Nippon Ham Fighters, followed by Kazuo Matsui of the Seibu Lions, then Ichiro of the Blue Wave. In all, Japan batted in 5 runs that inning. It was the most competitive game Japan has played so far but still lost 7 to 10.

Japan vs. U.S. on Nov. 7
Swallows' ace pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii started the game. He did not have an easy time though. In 3 innings. he succumbed to 3 runs. That included a 2 run homer by Andrew Jones of the Atlanta Braves. Manny Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians was amazing, driving in a 2 run and 3 run homeruns. On the Japanese side, Ichiro of the BlueWave, after making it to first in the 4th inning, stole bases from 1st to 2nd, and 2nd to 3rd proving that he's a special player. He came home off a base hit by Tokyo Giants' Hideki Matsui. However, it was only because of Ichiro that Japan was able to score. The U.S. team overwhelmed the Japan 8 to 1.

Giants vs. U.S. on Nov. 6
The first game of the series was played at the Tokyo Dome. It drew a full crowd of 55,000. The opening pitch was hurled by Hawaiian born former sumo wrestler Konishiki. The starters were Yusuku Iriki for the Giants and Curt Schilling for the U.S. who was the National League leader in strike outs. In the second inning, Sammy Sosa blasted a homerun off Iriki. It hit the right pole of the outfield stand. Iriki hurled 4 innings giving up only 2 hits, but he had to take the loss of the game. Also, Vinny Castilla of the Colorado Rockies smashed a homerun in the 9th inning. As for the Giants' they scored in the 8th as a result of a fielder's choice but that was it. The U.S. team won 4 to 1.

U.S. team arrives
On Nov. 4, the U.S. all stars arrived. The number one star in the series, Sammy Sosa was accompanied by his wife. He greeted the Japanese press at Narita Airport with his trademark sign.

U.S. squad
As of October 1, the members that have been announced are;

  • manager Mike Hargrove (Cleveland Indians)
  • Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs)
  • Greg Vaughn (San Diego Padres)
  • Nomar Garciaparra (Boston Red Sox)
  • Moises Alou (Houston Astros)
  • Curt Schilling (Philadelphia Phillies)
  • Park Chan Ho (Los Angeles Dodgers)
    none of the Japanese pitchers playing in the U.S. are included

    Fans' top pick of Japanese players announced on Aug. 27
    ManagerShigeo Nagashima (Giants)
    PitcherKenshin Kawakami (Dragons)
    CatcherAtsuya Furuta (Swallows)
    First baseman Kazuhiro Kiyohara (Giants)
    2nd baseman Toshihisa Nishi (Giants)
    3rd baseman Akira Etoh (Carp)
    Shortstop Kazuo Matsui (Lions)
    Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (Orix)
    Hideki Matsui (Giants)
    Yoshinobu Takahashi