In 1927 Pitcher Hiromitsu “Hiro” Tada, a Japanese foreign student, and his German-American catcher Horst “Heck” Riedl form an unbreakable friendship when their Oregon college team gives Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and their touring AL All-Stars all they can handle. In 1931 they team up again, this time in Japan.
To Heck, 1930s Japan seemed a splendid place to be a blond baseball star with coins to jingle. The hooch was good, the women intriguing, and the Savoy Room at the Tor had plenty of both. He only had to follow one simple rule: steer clear of politics. What could possibly go wrong?
Nativism could run amok. Fascists could take control of your life. War could tear you away from all the people you love. You could become a propaganda prize. Or an OSS prize. You and all your family could hang.
Or you could play ball.
Robert Cochrane (Morocco 1981-83) grew up in Kentucky and attended Georgetown University. After his Peace Corps tour, he spent most of his life teaching in colleges abroad, including twenty years in the Muslim east (Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and the UAE), three years in Thailand and seven in Japan, where he taught Cinema Studies in Kobe, setting for most of Sayonara Sacrifice. Today he and his wife divide their time between Thailand and the US.