Thursday, April 02, 2015

A Collection of Dodgers' 1956 Tour of Japan Contracts at SCP Auctions

There is currently a preview for SCP's upcoming Spring auction and it includes a fascinating complete collection of signed contracts for the Dodgers 1956 Tour of Japan.  Check out one of them above.  The auction includes contracts for 25 ballplayers and another 45 signed contracts for wives, coaches and officials.  Included are the likes of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Rachel Robinson, Beverley Snider, umpire Jocko Conlan, NL President Warren Giles and Vin Scully.

As you may know, the Dodgers went on a whirlwind Pacific Baseball tour following the 1956 season.  They were invited to Japan by Matsutaro Shoriki, the father of Japanese professional baseball, in cooperation with Yoniuri newspaper.  Overall, they played 21 games throughout the country and three games on Hawaii as a warm up. 

US Ambassador John M. Allison said that Baseball had become "a regular and significant event in Japan’s relations with the United States... This visit to Japan by one of America’s most notable baseball teams is an outstanding example of the many mutual interests shared by the people of Japan and the United States, the two nations which regard baseball as a national sport. It is but one of the many exchanges by which the two countries further their good relations and understanding."

What I find striking about the contracts are the terms expressed in the agreement.  It says,
I am to receive for expenses the sum of $3,000 American money plus $500 equivalent in Japanese yes.  Should my wife accompany me on the entire trip the sum of $3,000 will be reduced by $1,500.  Should my wife accompany me for the Hawaiian Island leg of the trip and then return to the United States I will receive a credit for the airline transportation not expended on her behalf.  All transportation and hotel accommodations and meals shall be first class and shall be at the expense of the Yoniuri newspaper.
You can find out more about this tour at Walter O', here.  There are also a whole bunch of photographs to look through and game recaps.

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