"I don't think
you can hit this pitcher," Nishimoto said.
"I can't hit
him? I'm batting .340 against that guy!"
That's my feeling. You're out."
That was too much
for Spencer to take. He was in the dressing room changing into street clothes
when he heard his name announced in the starting lineup. Nishimoto had put
Spencer down as the third batter, but only because he was planning to
"fool" the opposition by inserting a pinch hitter in the first
Now Spencer was
smoldering. When the game began and he heard the name of the second batter over
the loudspeaker, he decided to get even. Clad in his underwear and shower
clogs, he headed for the dugout. Grabbing a bat and smirking in the direction
of Nishimoto, he strode out to the on-deck circle to take a few practice
delighted the fans, and his picture was in all the papers the next day.
Nishimoto was not amused. He ordered Spencer off the field and slapped him with
a suspension and a $200 fine. Spencer paid up, later reporting with a wide
grin, "It was worth every penny."
In 1972, John
Miller became the first American to be released solely for his misconduct.
Miller, who played briefly for the Yankees and Dodgers, arrived in Japan in
1970 and soon became the most dangerous batter on the Chunichi Dragons. He was
a battler. A U.S. coach once said, "Miller is the kind of guy I'd want on
my team. He'll fight you with everything he has. He doesn't know how to
wasn't the kind of guy the Japanese wanted. He was seldom on time for practice.
If a workout was scheduled for 2 p.m., Miller would arrive at 2:10. This was
more serious than it sounds, because his teammates would invariably be raring
to go by 1:50.
"He always had
some excuse," says a team official. "One day it would be because the
traffic was heavy. Another day, he'd missed the train. He never once said he
for being late, Miller's response was most un-Oriental: "Japanese customs
are too military. I do good in the games, don't I? What else matters?"