George "Hats" Omachi

 

George "Hats" Omachi was born in San Fernando, California, and grew up in Canoga Park. San lot baseball was a favorite pastime until organized ball with the Japanese Athletic Union started.

In 1942, his family moved to Fresno, California. During World War II, Omachi's entire family became internees at the Fresno Fairgrounds before being relocated to a camp in Jerome, Arkansas. Omachi became active as a player with the Jerome All-Stars, competing against teams in their area such as Arkansas A&M.

In 1943, Omachi and his wife, Alice, left Jerome to live in St. Louis, Missouri. Omachi worked for the Defense Department building machine gun turrets. He coached a local semi-pro municipal team in Maplewood which led to meeting former Cardinal, Billy Southworth, a veteran of 13 years in the Majors. Omachi absorbed all the Major League experience he learned from Southworth.

Omachi returned to Fresno with his family in 194;6. He began playing again with the Fresno Nisei team as well as serving as instructional coach with the Fresno Yellow Jackets, an all black squad. His Major League caliber of coaching expertise led to managing and coaching of the Fresno Nisei's in 1955. In 1961 and 1962, the Fresno Nisei's repeated as state champions as well as league champs five years in a row.

Omachi continued to coach the Fresno Nisei's until 1970. In 1968, Omachi joined the New York Mets as a scout. He also worked for the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros as a Central California scout.

George "Hats" Omachi was the surgeon general of the Nisei baseball experience. His analytical approach and passion for the game is unparalleled. The Astros organization referred to Omachi as "The Doctor". He would strip the potential Major Leaguer down to his essentials and study his form with special concentration pertaining to muscle groups and mechanics. He was the only scout who could be trusted on verbal recommendations towards players. Any player having problems offensively or defensively received special attention from Omachi.

In 1989, Omachi helped pave the way for Cecil Fielder to play for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Central League. Fielder was fed a steady diet of curve balls and adjusted quite well. The following year he hit 50 home runs for the Detroit Tigers. Omachi is a legend in San Joaquin Baseball. Some of his former protégés include Tom Seaver, Ryan Bowen, Bobby Jones, Rex Hudler and countless others. He worked passionately and intensely with his players, on every level. Rain or shine, Omachi was always available.

 

 

 

 

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Tsuneo "Cappy" Harada

 

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