Babe Ruth Playing Golf In 1934
Here’s a neat old newsreel of Babe Ruth playing golf in Japan 1934. He’s teamed with Frank “Lefty” O’Doul, who played for the New York Giants.
Also pictured are US Ambassador to Japan Joseph Clark Grew and Japanese golf professional Charles Akiboshi.
They are playing at the Tokyo Golf Club.
Lefty O’Doul played a significant role in the growth of baseball in Japan. He served as MLB’s goodwill ambassador to Japan both before and after the war. In fact, the Tokyo Giants were named in honor of O’Doul’s time with the New York Giants.
Grew was a career diplomat who served as Ambassador to Japan from 1932 – 1941. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was imprisoned by the Japanese, but was repatriated in 1942 in an exchange of diplomats.
The Tokyo golf club was founded in 1914 at the urging of Junnosuke Inoue, who had learned to play in New York. The club was the first for Japanese citizens, rather than for foreign residents.
In 1932, the club moved from its original location to a new course designed by Charles Alison. That course, however, was soon after purchased by the Japanese Army.
The timeline suggests that the Alison is the course the Babe and his companions are playing.
In 1940, Tokyo Golf Club merged with Chichibu Country Club in Sayama City. That course was designed by Japanese architect Kohmyo Ohtani. It too was requisitioned by the Japanese Army; after the war, it was used by the occupying US Army. The club was returned to its members in 1952.