FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 12, 2017
On this date 2002: Ike Ikuhara posthumously inducted into Japan Baseball Hall of Fame
VERO BEACH, Florida (July 12, 2017) - On this date in 2002, Akihiro “Ike” Ikuhara, who made significant contributions to the Dodgers’ many international, amateur and professional baseball relationships and exchanges for Dodger President Peter O’Malley, was posthumously inducted into the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame.
On field ceremonies were held at the 2012 Japanese League All-Star Game at the Tokyo Dome. O’Malley, along with Dodger Executive Vice President and General Manager Dan Evans and Dodger Director of Asian Operations and Ikuhara’s son-in-law Acey Kohrogi attended the ceremonies. Other family members present were Ikuhara’s wife, Kimiko; son, Mutsuo; daughter, Susan; brothers, Nobuhisa and Yoshitaka; and sister, Yoko. After graduating from Waseda University, Ikuhara joined the Dodgers in 1965 and began learning all facets of the business side of baseball in America. He later served as assistant to the president for 10 years before his passing in 1992.
In 1988, Ikuhara was particularly important in the development of struggling left-handed pitcher Masahiro Yamamoto of the professional Chunichi Dragons, who were invited by O’Malley to train at Dodgertown that spring. Dragons Manager Senichi Hoshino asked if Ikuhara could instruct 22-year-old Yamamoto even after the Dragons returned to Japan. O’Malley gave his full support and Ikuhara remained at Dodgertown, helping Yamamoto to develop a new pitch – the screwball – for the Vero Beach Dodgers during Florida State League play. Yamamoto won 13 games for the Vero Beach Dodgers. He continued to turn things around upon his return to Japan later that season and was forever grateful for the training and career development that Ikuhara provided. Hoshino was inducted into the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
Yamamoto went on to win 219 games in 29 seasons with the Chunichi Dragons. He said, “It’s fair to say that I am a 200-win pitcher made by Ike’s knowledge. He loved coaching me, so I wish he was still alive to see my success today. He loved baseball so much and day after day he taught me how important fundamentals were. I learned the whole basis in Vero Beach.” In tribute to Ikuhara, when Yamamoto reached the 200-win plateau, he placed the game ball in front of Ikuhara’s picture at his home. In 2016, Yamamoto returned to Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach to film Japan’s prestigious nationwide show “Another Sky” on Nippon TV network, stating that the interview needed to be at the most memorable place in the world for him.
About Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida
“A Florida Heritage Landmark”
World-famous Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida is a multi-sport, 80-acre complex on Florida’s Treasure Coast managed by former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley in a partnership since 2012. O’Malley, whose family developed and expanded the site formerly known as “Dodgertown” for nearly 50 years, partnered with his sister Terry O’Malley Seidler and former Dodger star pitchers Chan Ho Park and Hideo Nomo.
On November 10, 2014, Historic Dodgertown was named a Florida Heritage Landmark for its unique historic significance extending beyond baseball, as the first completely integrated Spring Training site in the South. The “Baseball and Dodgertown” historical marker is located at the entrance to the conference center.
The home of Dodger Spring Trainings from 1948-2008, it was the starting place for six World Championships and 14 N.L. Pennant-winning teams. Numerous Baseball Hall of Fame players trained on these hallowed grounds, as well as 20 visits from professional teams in Asia.
The all-inclusive facility, owned by Indian River County, gives teams of all ages the unique opportunity to train, play, dine and stay together in on-site villas. Participants utilize one of 10 ½ playing fields (seven are Musco-lighted for night games), including a new cloverleaf of youth baseball/softball fields with concessions area and new multi-purpose field (110 by 130 yards) for football, soccer and lacrosse.
Other amenities include clubhouses, two full-sized weight rooms, dining room, Stadium Club lounge and a competition-size swimming pool. The home of 6,500-seat Holman Stadium, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida provides an all-encompassing experience for guests and is the ideal setting to build a championship team. It’s the perfect location for tournaments, camps, schools, business conferences and seminars.
Continuing its tradition since 1983, the Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp returned to Historic Dodgertown in November, 2014. Visit historicdodgertown.com for more information.
Ruth Ruiz, Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach, Florida, (772) 257-8532