Ripken gives Japanese youth a boost
John E. Gibson / Daily Yomiuri Sportswriter (Nov. 10, 2011)
A pair of "Iron Men" are working together to mold the baseball skills of children in Japan.
Former Baltimore Orioles star and all-time consecutive-games-played record holder Cal Ripken Jr. and former Hiroshima Carp great and Japanese Iron Man Sachio Kinugasa are holding national clinics for junior high and high school players that kicked off on Wednesday.
Ripken's former teammate Brady Anderson, a player with a rare combination of speed and power--both 50-homer and 50-steal seasons--also joins the tour.
The group held a pair of clinics in Tokyo and will travel to Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, today before heading to Nishinomiya, Hyogo, on Saturday. Kinugasa will miss the event in Nishinomiya, but rejoins the group in Kyoto's Ukyo Ward on Sunday to help wrap things up.
Ripken, a Hall of Famer, 19-time All-Star and two-time American League MVP, became a special public diplomacy envoy for the U.S. State Department in 2007. He said baseball is something to enjoy and can be a particular boost for those in the tsunami-battered regions in Iwate.
(Read the full story at The Daily Yomiuri Online)