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Baseball in Japan. An SJC connection.


Did you know that Gorham, Maine, can claim a rightful place as one of the birthplaces of baseball? More than 150 years ago, Gorham native, Horace Wilson, introduced the game to Japan. He was recruited by Japan’s government to teach its people the ways of the west. Horace is credited with teaching the game to his students at Kaisei Gakko, a forerunner to the University of Tokyo, and is considered the father of baseball in Japan.

But what does that have to do with SJC? It seems Abigail Balcomb is a great-granddaughter of Horace’s younger brother, Elbridge Wilson. Abigail is the wife Scott Balcomb, math professor emeritus at Saint Joe’s. As a matter of fact, he and Abigail live in the Gorham farmhouse that Horace was born and raised in.

Photo caption: Scott Balcomb; his wife, Abigail; and her sister Kate Sanborn did not know of Horace Wilson’s role in Japanese baseball until 2000. Wilson was Abigail and Kate’s great-great-uncle. Credit…Brad Lefton, New York Times.

⇒ Want to learn more? Read the New York Times article: Baseball Traveled to Japan 150 Years Ago. By Way of Maine.