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.

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