Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011
Best-selling author Robert Whiting, who penned the classic "You Gotta Have Wa," examines pitcher Hideki Irabu's life and his impact on baseball on both sides of the Pacific Ocean in an exclusive three-part series beginning on Sunday in The Japan Times.
Part one details the way Irabu, who committed suicide in July, forced a move from the Chiba Lotte Marines to the New York Yankees with unprecedented difficulties, pushing the San Diego Padres to make a trade during a time of chaotic upheaval within baseball's negotating setup between the two leagues.
Irabu became a champion of players' rights for refusing to stay with the Marines, ushering in a new era of baseball which led to the posting system. Future MLB stars Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka were posted in later years, a big-bucks reminder of Irabu's impact on the game.