Eiji Sawamura

Japan’s Sawamura Award, the equivalent of the Cy Young Award, is presented in memory of Eiji Sawamura, the first Japanese native to achieve pitching glory. As a 19-year-old amateur in 1934, Sawamura held a visiting American all-star team scoreless until Lou Gehrig‘s ninth-inning homer made him a 1-0 loser. In that game, Sawamura fanned Charley Gehringer, Babe RuthJimmie Foxx, and Gehrig in succession. Joining the Yomiuri Giants, Sawamura became their first 30-game winner, going 33-10 in 1937. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Imperial Army and was killed in the battle for the Ryukyu Islands shortly before WWII ended.