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The Japanese Baseball Stadium That Was Turned into a Real Estate Showcase

Where the Namba Parks stand today, in Osaka, Japan, once stood Osaka’s baseball stadium. Opened in 1950 with a capacity of 32,000 people, the stadium was home to the Nankai Hawks baseball team, but when the Hawks moved to Heiwadai Stadium in 1988, the stadium was sold to Fukuoka City. For the next two years, Osaka Stadium became the temporary home of the Kintetsu Buffaloes, who played about a dozen games there. The last official game was held on August 2, 1990.

One of the most interesting repurposing of the stadium happened in 1991. A trade group leased the venue and used it to showcase various model homes from several construction companies. The entire playing arena was transformed into a mini residential neighborhood with fake streets, street lights and with cars parked outside homes.

The expo lasted 8 years, and has since gained a lot of attention on social media incorrectly captioned as “a baseball stadium that was repurposed as a residential neighborhood.”

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The 17 Year Old Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig

In 1931, Joe Engel booked the New York Yankees for two exhibition games against the Lookouts as the major leaguers traveled north from spring training. A week before their arrival, he announced the signing of Jackie Mitchell, which was one of the first professional baseball contracts ever given to a woman.

The prospect of a 17-year-old girl facing the mighty Yankees generated considerable media coverage, most of it condescending.

The first game against the Yankees, before a crowd of 4,000 fans and journalists, began with the Lookouts’ starting pitcher surrendering hits to the first two batters. The Lookouts’ manager then pulled his starter and sent Mitchell to the mound to face the heart of a fearsome lineup that had become known in the 1920s as “Murderers’ Row.”

First up was Ruth, who tipped his hat at the girl on the mound. Mitchell went into her motion, winding her left arm “as if she were turning a coffee grinder.” Then, with a side-armed delivery, she threw her trademark sinker (a pitch known then as “the drop”). Ruth let it pass for a ball. At Mitchell’s second offering, Ruth “swung and missed the ball by a foot.” He missed the next one, too, and asked the umpire to inspect the ball. Then, with the count 1-2, Ruth watched as Mitchell’s pitch caught the outside corner for a called strike three.

Flinging his bat down in disgust, Ruth retreated to the dugout.

Next to the plate was Gehrig, who batted .341 in 1931 and tied the Babe for the league lead in homers. He swung at and missed three straight pitches. Mitchell walked the next batter, Tony Lazzeri, and the Lookouts’ manager pulled her from the game, which the Yankees went on to win, 14-4.

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How Spring Training put Ronald Regan on the Path to the Presidency

You may know that Ronald Reagan was a diehard baseball fan. A native of northern Illinois, he never wavered in his love for the Cubs, even throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley during his presidency.

But he also owed our national pastime for much more than just a favorite team. Not only did baseball give Reagan his first job, it also set him on the path that would turn him into a Hollywood icon, the 33rd governor of California and the 40th president of the United States — all thanks to an opportune trip to Spring Training.

After graduating from Eureka College in 1932, Reagan headed to Chicago with dreams of breaking into sports broadcasting. He was quickly rebuffed, though, told to try his luck in a smaller market and work his way up the ladder. So he wound up at WHO in Des Moines, where he called everything from boxing to college football to Cubs games. Well, kind of: The station would get play-by-play updates from Wrigley on the wire, and Reagan would turn them into a simulated broadcast.

As you might expect from a man with a lifetime of oratory in front of him, he was pretty good at it. Even when things didn’t go quite as planned.

In the ninth inning of a particularly tense Cubs-Cardinals game, the telegraph feed went out, forcing Reagan to ad lib his way through Augie Galan’s at-bat against Dizzy Dean. His solution? Stall for time with a heart-pounding and completely fake account of foul ball after foul ball until the updates finally resumed. “Galan popped out on the first pitch,” Reagan recalled in his autobiography. “Not in my game he didn’t. He popped out after practically making a career of foul balls.”

Still, it wasn’t the most glamorous work, and Reagan aspired for more — especially in the winter, when baseball was on hiatus and the Iowa weather wore on him. So, prior to the 1937 season, he went for broke, begging the Cubs to let him tag along for the team’s Spring Training on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles. Chicago eventually said yes, Reagan was bound for California, and world history was changed forever.

While out west, Reagan reconnected with Joy Hodges, a friend from Des Moines who’d moved to Hollywood to pursue a singing career. He half-jokingly mentioned to her that he’d love to break into the movie business, and Hodges, firmly establishing herself as the greatest friend humanity has ever seen, followed up by landing him a screen test with Warner Bros. Reagan went, but as a no-name kid from the Midwest he didn’t think much of it … until he returned to Iowa and found a six-month, $200-a-week contract waiting in his mailbox.

He made his big-screen debut later that year, playing a radio announcer in “Love Is On the Air,” and over the next four years he appeared in a whopping 28 films — including 1941’s “Knute Rockne, All-American,” where his portrayal of George “The Gipper” Gipp turned him into a star.

From there, you know the rest: that stardom — and his way with words — propelled Reagan to the governorship of California, which in turn propelled him to the presidency. And to think, he had some exhibition baseball to thank.

Regan’s story is proof that small decisions can effect our lives in BIG ways!

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The Baseball World Tour You’ve Never Heard About

A century ago, an international tour yet to be equaled featured the New York Giants, Chicago White Sox, and Jim Thorpe, the man considered the greatest athlete on the planet who was simply glad to have a job.

The instigators of the around-the-world series of games were John “Mugsy” McGraw of the Giants, the most successful manager in baseball, and Charles Comiskey, owner of the White Sox. One night in December 1913, McGraw and Comiskey were having drinks at “Smiley” Mike Corbett’s bar on Chicago’s East Side, and the idea of a world tour came up. McGraw knew something about the business – he was in the midst of a 16-week tour of vaudeville theaters, where all he had to do was tell baseball yarns for a whopping $3,000 a week. Comiskey was already rich and McGraw was getting there, so making money was not the main motive for a journey around the globe. Both men were envious of the fame that Albert Spalding had achieved when he had led players on an 1889-90 tour of several countries including New Zealand, Australia, Egypt and Italy. McGraw and Comiskey wanted to lead a bigger and better tour with teams representing the two biggest cities in the United States. The 25th anniversary of Spalding’s adventure was approaching, so the time was right for a new edition.

The tour that McGraw and Comiskey envisioned would begin as a barnstorming trek across the country right after the 1913 World Series. Upon reaching the West Coast, the two teams and whoever else was allowed to tag along (especially reporters) would board a ship to take them across the Pacific. The tour’s first stop on foreign soil would be in Tokyo and, going from east to west, the last one would be in London. In between the travelers would touch down in China, the Philippines, Egypt, Ceylon, France, and other countries with at least a rudimentary ball field.

McGraw and Comiskey filled out most of the roster of current Giants and White Sox played, but they cast a wider net for a few famous and more colorful players. On board were future Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson, Tris Speaker, Urban Farber and “Wahoo” Sam Crawford. Among those joining them were James “Death Valley Jim” Scott, George “Hooks” Wiltse, “Bunny” Hearn, “Turkey” Mike Donlin, and others who nicknames matched their personalities.

The most famous of them all was Jim Thorpe. Regarded as the greatest athlete at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, by 1913 he was also the world’s most notorious one. That January, the Worcester Telegram reported that a few years earlier Thorpe had earned $2 a game playing professional baseball in the Eastern Carolina League. The ensuing headlines prompted the Amateur Athletic Union to begin disciplinary proceedings that would result in Thorpe being stripped of his medals. Newly married and needing to make a living, Thorpe jumped at the New York Giants’ offer of a three-year deal that would pay him a $6000 annually, when most players in 1913 took home $2000 or less.

At the end of the season, the Giants, boasting a 101-51 record and dominating the National League, faced the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1913 World Series. McGraw had visions in his head of rounding the world as the world champion manager, but the Athletics took the championship in five games. The last loss, 3-1, was especially galling for McGraw because of what the New York Times reported as “witless blunders” by his team and being shut down by Old Man Plank, at 40 years old, the oldest pitcher in baseball.

The Giants, however, were still the marquee name in baseball. (The White Sox, at 78-74, had finished fifth in the American League.) The much-anticipated tour finally got underway on October 18 with an 11-2 Giants victory in Cincinnati, just one week after the end of the World Series.

What piece of the profits would the players get? None. According to James E. Elfers, author of the definitive account The Tour to End All Tours, the players had to actually pay to participate.

After Cincinnati, the teams rode the rails through the heartland of America, with stops for games in places like Peoria, Springfield, Tulsa, Sioux City and El Paso, then on to the West Coast, where they worked their way up from San Diego to Seattle. Given that at the time the farthest-west major league franchise was the St. Louis Cardinals (which had lost 99 games in the 1913 season), the crowds on the coast were especially welcoming. The Los Angeles Times reported about the November 8 game, “A vast number of persons were found lined up fighting desperately to separate themselves from their money. The game was held until all of them succeeded in doing this that none might be disappointed.”

On December 9, the Giants boarded the Empress of Japan and set sail to visit 13 nations and travel over 30,000 miles, mostly by water and rail, decades before deep-pocketed owners sprang for private planes. The notoriously thrifty Comiskey provided most of the $90,000 for chartered steamships and brought with him a $121,000 letter of credit for additional travel expenses. (Comiskey was also a notoriously savvy businessman, and he would enjoy an excellent return on his investment.) For their part, the players, many of who had never been out of the U.S. before, knew this was their only opportunity to see the world, and why not do it on Comiskey’s dime while missing the New York and Chicago winter.

The western Pacific and subcontinent countries fascinated the players – once they got there. On the way to Japan they encountered a late-season typhoon which tossed 60-foot waves at the ship, and they were especially glad to reach Tokyo, where 5,000 Japanese fans attended the first game, 7,000 the second, both held in tiny stadiums. “Space was at such a premium that many of the fans sat on bamboo mats crammed into any open plot of land,” Elfers writes. “To the Americans, it was all very heady and overpowering.” Then for the teams it was on to China.

Thorpe proved especially appealing at the gate. To the foreign fans he was still the world’s greatest athlete, and he was touted as such in advertisements and newspaper reports anticipating the arrival of the teams. And few were aware that in the 1913 season, he had appeared in only 19 games for the Giants and batted an anemic .143. The more romantic fans were thrilled that this was a honeymoon trip too, as Ina Thorpe was accompanying her husband on the tour. As the teams’ steamship approached the dock in Shanghai, the waiting throng chanted, “Thorpe! Thorpe! Thorpe!” The great baseball players with him were viewed as merely members of the king’s court.

After a stop in Hong Kong – where doctors had to certify that none of the visitors had smallpox — the travelers arrived in Manila.

They were greeted by wildly cheering people. Many of the Filipinos had never seen a baseball game before and perhaps didn’t know why they were cheering, but there were also many American military personnel on hand and later at the ballpark.

The new year found the teams in Brisbane, Australia. A disoriented Sam Crawford, accustomed to cold weather in January, commented, “It’s a beautiful town, if only it would snow once in a while.” One game was played there, then travel troubles jinxed them: After two games in Sydney, on January 9, where the Morning Herald reported, “If the appreciation and warmth of the greeting to the visitors by the expectant crowd of over 10,000 persons at the Sydney Cricket Ground counts for anything, the visitors need have no fears of success of their colorful adventure.”   Even McGraw had been moved to shout to the crowd, “I love Australians!”

From Sydney, the teams boarded a train in Melbourne to Adelaide, but delays turned the trip into an 18-hour slog. The game there had to be cancelled so the teams could hop on the HMS Orontes for India, prompting the Adelaide Advertiser to headline an article, “Discourteous Visitors; Local Baseballers Snubbed.”

A long journey by ship, which included crossing the equator on January 20, brought the teams to Ceylon, where tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton greeted them, and the game was played at the Victoria Gardens Racetrack before a bemused audience that wondered why they weren’t watching a cricket match. On January 23, the troupe headed for the Middle East.

Two games in Cairo opened February. For the players, more exciting than the games themselves was visiting the Pyramids and especially the Great Sphinx. With the latter, what made the visit special was watching Ivy Wingo, the Giants catcher, from 100 yards away throw a baseball over the Sphinx to where it was caught on the other side by Sox outfielder Steve Evans. Then the tourists boarded the German liner Prinz Heinrich, bound for Naples. After three days in Rome, where the travelers met Pope Pius X, they went to Nice then on to Paris. Rain washed out the games there, but undaunted, McGraw, Comiskey, and the players went sight-seeing.

These days, MLB is attempting to reach outside of the US border with special events like the London Series and the opening series in Japan, but it will probably be a while before we see something this spectacular again.

Speaking of spectacular, if you’re actively investing in real estate, or have dreams of building a portfolio reach out to us and join our MVP Investor Club where we help individuals assess, cultivate, and close the best deals on the market!

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A-Rod Sells Hollywood Hills Estate For 4.4 Million

Originally purchased from actress Meryl Streep, A-Rod acquired this Hollywood hills bachelor pad in 2014. After finding no buyers at the original asking price of 6.5 Million, he dropped it to 5.25 and finally down to 4.4 Million. 

The Architectural Products magazine research program first commissioned the home in 1954 as an experiment in materials and design. Known as the Honnold & Rex Research House, it underwent a redesign by architectural conservator Xorin Balbes roughly a decade ago and now the 3,700 square feet home holds four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

The property includes several glass walls, fireplaces, a beautiful modern pool, and city light views pour into the space from multiple rooms. 


(Photos Via Anthony Barcelo)

Even though he took a loss on the property, we’re sure A-Rod is happy to move onto his next adventure with fiancé J-Lo as they recently purchased a $6.6 Million beach house in Malibu.

All in all, another win for A-Rod, which he can add to his list of accolades along with his 696 homers, 3,115 hits, 10 silver slugger awards, and World Series Title.

If you’re actively investing in real estate, or have dreams of building a portfolio reach out to us and join our MVP Investor Club where we help individuals assess, cultivate, and close the best deals on the market! 

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5 Trips Every Baseball Fan has to Take

If you’ve ever looked into merging your love of baseball with your love for travel, then you know the journeys that are most touted, like visiting all 30 Major League Stadiums or going to a World Series game, are pricey, time-consuming, or both.

However, there are still plenty of affordable trips and destinations for the budget-conscious baseball tourist…no matter what home team you root for. Here are 5 trips that every baseball fan should add to their bucket list:

  1. National Baseball Hall of Fame
  2. Spring Training in Arizona
  3. Negro leagues Baseball Museum
  4. Fenway Park
  5. Field of Dreams Movie Site in Iowa

All of these destinations are iconic and will likely induce some nostalgia for any true fan of the game! Book your calendars and bring the whole family, you won’t be disappointed!

Fielder’s Choice has been hitting home runs for our clients since 2006! Whether you’re buying, selling, investing or just want to learn more contact us and get the MVP treatment!

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The 12 Million Dollar Baseball Card

It’s insured for more than ten times what Mickey Mantle made for playing baseball from 1951-1968.  Such is the current market for what is probably the second most recognizable baseball card ever made. This PSA 10 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card is 1 of 3 in the world, and is owned by Denver resident, Marshall Fogel.

Fogel’s card, among the earliest graded by PSA, had originated with the famous 1980’s Massachusetts find made by Alan “Mr. Mint” Rosen, who purchased hundreds of high-grade 1952 Topps cards – even the original Topps case they were stored in– from a man in Quincy, MA in 1986. 

The going rate at the time was shocking–$2,000 to $3,000 for the best examples. At the time, few cards were worth that much. 

Fogel spent $121,000 for the Mantle card in 1996. It’s safe to say that the investment has paid off. Just last year one of the six PSA 9 examples, a card owned by former NFL lineman and collector Evan Mathis, sold for $2.8 million. Fielder’s Choice Realty knows a thing or two about good investments, we’ve helped dozens of people become successful real estate investors.

While the PSA 10 Mickey Mantle is the centerpiece of his collection, Fogel has hundreds of valuable artifacts from America’s Pastime over the years. 

Over time, baseball has changed a lot, but ultimately it’s still the same game on a summer’s day: nine guys against one lonely batter. And for Marshall Fogel it’s all about the love of the game.

At Fielder’s Choice we’re all about helping good people find a place they can truly call home. If you’re buying, selling, investing or just want to learn more – contact us today!

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How to Build the Perfect Home Batting Cage

Building a batting cage at home can provide hours of valuable practice time. Making your own cage from inexpensive materials is a fun, easy project. You can construct a basic batting cage indoors inside a garage or pole barn, or outdoors where more space is usually available. Here’s the recipe for the perfect home batting cage:


Step 1

Determine the best area to construct your batting cage. You’ll need a space at least 15 feet wide and 40 feet long. You need a longer area if you want to practice hitting pitches from farther away. Make sure the area is level and free of obstructions.


Step 2

Set up the wood posts to make the skeleton of the cage. Posts measuring 4 inches by 4 inches are the sturdiest. The cage should have a post about every 12 to 14 feet along each side. If you are building a 40-foot-long cage, you need three posts on each side. The posts should stand 10 to 12 feet aboveground. Therefore, posts for outdoor cages need to be 13 to 15 feet tall so you can secure 2 to 3 feet of the post with concrete in the ground. You need to attach posts for an indoor cage with post bases using anchor hooks to secure the base to the floor surface.


Step 3

Screw in eye bolts about every 3 feet along each post.


Step 4

Drape the netting over the top of the posts and extend it down evenly. Leave about 1 foot of excess netting resting on the ground.


Step 5

Clip the netting to the eye bolts. Do not stretch the net too tightly. You need to leave some slack in the net so the netting slows down and stops the ball rather than rebounds it back.


Step 6

Secure the bottom of the netting to the ground, or to a board connected to the posts at the bottom, to prevent balls from rolling under the netting. Remember to keep some slack in the netting.


 Things You’ll Need


  • Heavy-duty nylon or polyethylene netting

  • 6 treated wood posts, 12 to 15 feet tall

  • Post bases (optional)

  • Anchor hooks (optional)

  • Eye bolts

  • Clips

Let our team of all-stars at Fielder’s Choice help you find your next home! Contact us today!

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Inside the Homes of MLB Superstars

America’s pastime is one of the most lucrative professional sports in the world. Just last year MLB players made $4.52 Million on average! With such staggering salaries, that don’t include their lucrative endorsements, it’s no surprise that these all stars have chosen to live in upscale, ultra luxury homes. 


Mike Trout made over $35 Million last year, but he’s still that same humble kid from Millville, NJ. So no surprise that he purchased a 300-acre estate just minutes from his parents’ home. Or so it’s been reported. 



At one time, Mike Trout rented a rustic palace at the Running Deer Golf Club located in Pittsgrove Township, New Jersey. This palatial log cabin gives you a sense of Trout’s rural aesthetic: where he comes from, where he’s at and where he’s going.


Across the country, lives another superstar you may be familiar with. The ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw. 


In early 2015, Kershaw and his wife purchased a 5,988-square-foot residence in Studio City, California. Their home cost $4 million and has five bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms.


This home includes a cozy family room, immaculate kitchen, beautiful wine cellar and in home theatre!

Kershaw should proudly toast himself and his success, both on and off the baseball field. There’s no success like family, friends and financial independence.


While these homes are truly incredible, Giancarlo Stanton’s newly purchased penthouse is the definition of BALLER.


Stanton purchased this pre-construction unit at the Aria on the Bay tower, located in downtown Miami’s Arts and Entertainment District. This epic penthouse is the MVP of upscale living.

It’s three levels and occupies the top floors of a state-of-the-art tower. Boasting 10-foot-high floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors, five bedrooms, seven and a half bathrooms and a rooftop terrace with a loaded kitchen and private pool. And wait, there’s more!


The building itself is comprised of 648 residences and every luxe amenity imaginable has been included: a deck with two sunrise/sunset-facing swimming pools, jacuzzi, fire pits, barbecue grills, outdoor summer kitchens, spa, fitness center, yoga studio, indoor/outdoor bar and entertainment lounge, theater, game room, library and business center.


These MLB players have learned that hard work pays off and each is, indeed, living their best life. Fielder’s Choice Realty aims to help our client’s do the same. Whether you’re on a big league budget or just sliding into your first home, our team of all-stars can help you find what you’re looking for. Contact us today!