Former Japanese and American major league pitcher Shigetoshi Hasegawa and current Los Angeles Dodgers Director of Team Travel Scott Akasaki will both discuss their careers and how they became successful in professional baseball at a free public program set for Saturday, July 23, at 11 a.m. at the Japanese American National Museum, 1st and Central in Little Tokyo.
“How to Succeed in Baseball” is presented by the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation in partnership with JANM.
By his own account, Hasegawa was not even the best pitcher on his high school team in Hyogo. But he was determined to become a major league baseball player and had the goal of playing in the majors in the U.S.
Drafted by the Orix BlueWave, Hasegawa was Rookie of the Year in 1991. A teammate of Ichiro Suzuki, he played for two championship teams and amassed a 57-45 win-loss record when the Anaheim Angels purchased his contract in 1997.
Used primarily out of the bullpen as a setup man, Hasegawa pitched for the Angels through 2001. He then signed with the Seattle Mariners and performed a similar role until 2003 when Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki was injured. As the closer, Hasegawa converted 16 of 17 save opportunities, appeared in 63 games and had an earned run average of 1.48. He was named to the All Star Team that year.
Hasegawa pitched two more seasons with the Mariners, but was not offered a contract in 2006. Despite many offers from other teams, he chose to retire to pursue his business interests in America. He currently heads a real estate business and works as a commentator for Japanese television.
Akasaki is now in his seventh year as director of team travel. At 34, he is the youngest person to hold his position in the National League and was the first Asian American to be named to the post in Major League Baseball history. He is just the fifth team travel representative for the Dodgers since they moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
Akasaki coordinates all of the club’s travel during spring training, the regular season, and the postseason. Specifically, he is responsible for spring training scheduling, flight negotiations and scheduling, hotel negotiations and booking, game-day ticket requests, as well as bus and equipment truck transportation.
He also serves as an interpreter for Japanese Dodger pitchers. Last spring, Akasaki spearheaded the team’s trip to Beijing, the team’s simultaneous departure from Vero Beach, and the full squad’s reunion in Phoenix. In 2009, he was instrumental in the club’s move into its new spring home, Camelback Ranch-Glendale. In 2010, he helped coordinate the team’s exhibition trip to Taiwan.
While working at JANM, Akasaki had the opportunity to interview former Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda for the Rafu Shimpo. That inspired Akasaki to lay out a plan to eventually work for the Dodgers. A cum laude graduate of Claremont McKenna College, he double-majored in government and legal studies, but moved to Japan to learn the language, culture and business. For five seasons he served in the club’s Asian Operations Department, most recently as the manager of Japanese affairs.
For more information, call (213) 625-0414 or visit www.janm.org.