Austin to Amarillo: The 1936 Tokyo Giants Tour Texas

In the spring of 1936, the Tokyo Giants embarked on a challenging tour through Texas (and Oklahoma), playing a total of 13 games against various local teams as part of a broader preparation strategy for their inaugural season in the Japanese Professional Baseball League (JPBL). This tour was a segment of an extensive 89-game stint in the United States designed to ready the team for competitive play in Japan.

Despite their efforts, the Texas tour proved difficult for the Giants, who managed only three wins against ten losses. The tour began on April 3rd in Austin, where the Giants faced the Bottlers and suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat. Subsequent games continued in a similar vein, with losses to the Galveston Buccaneers (5-3), Beaumont Exporters (6-4), and Dallas Steers in two consecutive matches (4-1 and 7-2). A scheduled doubleheader against the Houston Buffaloes was canceled due to cold weather.

A highlight for the Giants came on April 11th in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they secured their first win by narrowly defeating the Drillers 9-8. However, the celebration was short-lived as they fell to the Longview Cannibals 9-5 shortly afterward. The Giants demonstrated their potential with a decisive 5-3 win against a local club in Henderson and a dominant 11-2 victory over the Jacksonville Jax, marking their most significant win on the tour. Despite these victories, they struggled to maintain momentum and concluded the tour with close but unfortunate losses to the Boerger Hubbers (3-2) and Amarillo's Phillips ‘66 team (1-0).

Overall, the Giants scored 47 runs while conceding 69, averaging 3.62 runs per game and allowing 5.31 runs per game. 

This Texas tour, part of their larger U.S. preparation, was a testament to the competitive spirit of the Tokyo Giants, who displayed perseverance and skill against strong Texan teams despite numerous defeats.

The experience gained from playing a total of 89 games in the United States, including the Texas tour, proved invaluable upon their return to Japan. The exposure to American baseball's higher level of play helped the Giants identify areas for improvement and refine their strategies.

The rigorous preparation culminated in a dominant performance in the 1936 JPBL season, where they won both the spring and fall championships. This extensive and challenging preparation laid a strong foundation for their early success, establishing the Tokyo Giants as a powerhouse in Japanese baseball.

1936 Tokyo Giants Team Roster (alpha order)

Kenichi Aoshiba23Pitcher
Toshihide Hatafuku23Pitcher
Seiichi Hayashi20Outfielder
Kentaro Ito19Outfielder
Nobuo Kura25Catcher
Hachiro Maekawa24Pitcher, 2B, 3B, OF
Osamu Mihara242B
Shigeru Mizuhara272B
Fujio Nagasawa311B
Haruyasu Nakajima26Outfielder
Takeshi Nakayama20Catcher
Tomosaburo Narita19Pitcher
Eiji Sawamura19Pitcher
Katsumi Shiraishi18Shortstop
Victor Starffin20Pitcher
Shiro Tsuda272B, 3B
Osamu Tsutsui182B, Shortstop
Tamotsu Uchibori19Catcher
Eiichiro Yamamoto34Outfielder

1936 Tokyo Giants Record in Texas

DateLocationOpponentResultScoreRuns ForRuns AgainstDiff
April 3AustinBottlersLoss2-323-1
April 5GalvestonBuccaneersLoss3-535-2
April 7BeaumontExportersLoss4-646-2
April 8Houston (DH)BuffaloesCanceled (weather)--
April 9DallasSteersLoss1-414-3
April 10DallasSteersLoss2-727-5
April 11Tulsa, OKDrillersWin9-8981
April 13LongviewCannibalsLoss5-959-4
April 15HendersonOilersWin5-3532
April 16JacksonvilleJaxWin11-21129
April 18TylerTrojansLoss1-14114-13
April 19TylerTrojansLoss2-424-2
April 21BoergerHubbersLoss2-323-1
April 22AmarilloPhillips ‘66Loss0-101-1