Murata that in his case, at least six days of rest would be imperative between
each appearance. And that meant genuine rest, not throwing 100 pitches a day as
Murata had done previously between starts.
reluctantly, pitching only nine innings in '84. The next year, fully recovered,
he was 17-5, with 93 strikeouts, winning Comeback of the Year honors. At the
end of the season, he and his wife flew to Los Angeles to thank Jobe in person
for all he had done.
started a new trend in Japan. Several other injured pitchers followed his path
to Los Angeles for arm surgery and found their careers resurrected. Going to
see Jobe became a fad.
Murata was not
happy about that. He thought some of the younger players went under the knife
too quickly, that their comebacks were too easy. Suffering built character, and
character was what made the difference between winners like Murata and
weak-kneed losers. Modern medicine may have rebuilt his arm, but something else
had made his career.
One afternoon in
1987 at Kawasaki Stadium, he talked to a young writer about the proliferation
of machines and electronic instruments in everyday life. "Do you use a word
processor?" asked Murata.
don't," replied the young man, "I use a pencil."
he said, nodding his approval. "You can't get any heart into your work
using one of those things."
A man who had
lost touch with the natural way of things, things like pain, would lose touch
By the time
Japanese professional baseball celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1985, it had
become a mirror of Japan's fabled virtues of hard work and harmony, and a game
with only a superficial resemblance to its American counterpart.
baseball," grumbled former Dodger Reggie Smith after his first season as a
Yomiuri Giant in 1983. "It only looks like it."