Tsuneo “Cappy” Harada was born in Santa Maria, California, on October 16, 1921. A lifelong athlete, he competed in high school and semi-pro baseball, ultimately scouting for the San Francisco Giants. While still in high school, he played in exhibition games against future Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Bob Lemon and Jackie Robinson
Harada was scouted by the St. Louis Cardinals before World War II broke out.
Harada joined the military intelligence service and was shipped out to help the United States in the Pacific Theater campaigns. Wounded twice, he continued with the U.S. military for 10 years during the Occupation of Japan. Harada was placed in charge by General Douglas McArthur with re-establishing Japanese athletics to help build morale. Harada focused on baseball and resurrected professional baseball and the national High School Baseball Tournament at Koshien.
In 1949 Harada arranged a baseball goodwill tour of Lefty O’Doul and the San Francisco Seals in Japan. In 1951 and ’53, the Joe DiMaggio all-stars and the New York Giants also brought Major League Baseball stars to Japanese ballparks. A highlight of Harada’s time spent in Japan was hosting DiMaggio and his wife actress Marilyn Monroe on their honeymoon to Japan in January 1954. With Harada’s assistance, the Yankee Clipper squeezed in some batting clinics for Japanese baseball players.
From 1951-54, became a special advisor to the Tokyo Giants of the Japanese Baseball League. Under Harada, the Giants took four straight JBL championships. He also pioneered a two-league format and adopted a World Series-style playoffs in Japan.
In 1965, Harada was named general manager of the Lodi (Calif.) Crushers, now called the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, in California League Class A (affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since 2001). The team was a Minor League affiliate with the Chicago Cubs (1966-68, and Harada was the first Nisei (second generation Japanese American) to be named a General Manager in professional baseball. In 1966, he was named executive of the year by the Sporting News and the National Association of Professional Baseball.
For over 20 decades, Harada worked for the San Francisco Giants as a special assistant in the scouting and player personnel department. He also worked with player development, basic business operations and Trans-Pacific scouting. Harada is credited with signing the first Japanese player to a Major league contract, left-hander pitcher Masanori Murakami. He was acquired by the Giants from Japan’s Nankai Hawks in 1964. Murakami played two seasons, and had a career record of 5-1.
Between the 1970s to late 2000s, Harada served as an advisor to Major League Baseball. Harada died of heart failure on June 5, 2010, at the age of 88 in California.
by Kerry Yo Nakagawa, Nisei Baseball Research Project
Fitts, Robert K. Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.
Mukai, Gary. Diamonds in the Rough: Baseball and Japanese-American Internment. Stanford, CA: Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), 2004.
Nakagawa, Kerry Yo. Through a Diamond: 100 Years of Japanese American Baseball. San Francisco, CA: Rudi Publishing, 2001.