In 1908, the sporting good company Reach organized a tour of Japan, China, Phillipines, Hawaii.
When the Reach All-Americans took the field in Asia, it marked the first time major leaguers played in Japan, pre-dating a long run of successful Japanese tours.
1908 Reach All-Americans
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In 1908 the A.J. Reach Company assembled an "Oriental Tour" to take baseball to Asia. A team was put together by Mike Fisher, who helmed the Sacramento team of the Pacific Coast League, and set out to play against local teams in Japan, China, the Phillipines and Hawaii.
Interestingly, Reach had been purchased by the Saplding & Brothers, the same company that backed the 1888-89 World Tour.
This team was composed mainly of PCL players, along with some other minor leaguers and journeymen major leaguers.
The roster included: Bill Burns of the Washington Senators, Jack Bliss of the Cardinals, Jim Delehanty of the Senators, Pat Flaherty of the Boston Nationals, Jack Graney of the Cleveland Indians, Heinie Heitmuller of the Philadelphia Athletics, Nick Williams of the San Francisco PCL team, Babe Danzig of the Sacamento PCL team, (George?) Hildebrand of San Francisco, (William?) Deveraux of the Oakland PCL team and Harry McArdle of the San Francisco team.
The team won all 17 games they played in Japan and then moved on to other Asian countries, and even played some games against American servicemen abroad.
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The postcard above shows the 1908 Reach U.S. All Star Tour of Japan in a partially colorized view. Seen here are catcher Jack Bliss of the St. Louis Cardinals and a batter named Kanki of Keio University playing at the East Recreation Ground in Kobe. A hard to find card, this issue features Japanese, Russian, French, English and other languages on its reverse.
The image at the top of this page is a postcard-sized scorecard half of the Reach team, with a blank scorecard on its reverse for the match against Kobe.