Cappy Harada (L) and Yankees baseball legend Joe DiMaggio photo courtesy of Nisei Baseball Research Project

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — Tsuneo Paul Harada, affectionately known as Cappy Harada, passed away on June 5, 2010. The Santa Maria native was 88. He was born Oct. 16, 1921.

He is preceded in death by his loving wife, Kay Harada. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Alex and Etsuko Harada; his son, Dan Harada; and his daughter and son-in-law, Ann and Steve Burkhardt. Also by his sister, Fumi Utsunomiya; his three brothers, Joseph, George and Jimmy Harada; and his grandchildren, Joshua and Zachary Burkhardt and Michael, David, Christina and Karina Harada; plus a host of caring and loving nieces and other relatives and cherished friends who will miss him.

A lifelong athlete, Harada competed in high school and semi-pro baseball, ultimately scouting for the San Francisco Giants. When he was still in high school, he played in exhibition games against future Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Bob Lemon and Jackie Robinson.

Harada said the St. Louis Cardinals were scouting him 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.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Harada arranged baseball goodwill tours in Japan. Lefty O’Doul and the San Francisco Seals played a series in Japan during one of those. 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 for Harada during his time in Japan was hosting DiMaggio and his wife, actress Marilyn Monroe, on their honeymoon to Japan in January of 1954.

Harada said DiMaggio put on some clinics for Japanese baseball players.

Harada was the special assistant to Tokyo Giants manager Shigeru Mizuhara. He helped to guide the Giants to four straight JBL championships. Harada also pioneered a two-league format and World Series-style playoffs in Japan.

In 1965, Harada was named general manager of the Lodi Crushers, now the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, in the Class A California League. The Quakes are an affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The team was a Minor League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs from 1966-68. Harada was the first Nisei to be a general manager in the minors. He was named Executive of the Year in 1966.

Harada worked for the San Francisco Giants as a special assistant in the scouting and player personnel department for 23 years. Harada 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 Masanori Murakami.

Murakami was acquired by the Giants from Japan’s Nankai Hawks in 1964. He played two seasons and had a career record of 5-1.

In 1979, living in the state of Washington, Harada was appointed state athletic commissioner, and he continued to support baseball.

One response to “OBITUARY: Cappy Harada”

  1. John Quick Avatar
    John Quick

    I was neighbors with the Haradas in Lodi California and played with Dan, his son, in my youth. One of the highlights of my youth was getting a bus trip to watch a San Frasncisco Giants game and get signatures from players with Dan, thanks to his Dad, Cappy. The few times I met Cappy and Dan’s Mother Kay, they were very friendly and kind.

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