Integration of North and South American Players in Japan's Professional Baseball Leagues
Teams in Japan’s two professional baseball leagues began to add foreign players to their rosters in the early 1950s, with the average number of foreign players per team reaching 5.79 in 2004. One reason for their increased use of foreign players was that foreign hitters substantially outperformed Japanese hitters. We show that the pace of team integration with African-American, Latino, and Caucasian players varied substantially across teams, a pattern also observed in North American professional baseball leagues. Using team data for the 1958-2004 seasons, econometric analysis shows that good teams that experienced a poor season played foreign players more frequently in the next season’s games.
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