Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tom Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: Tom Matsuoka
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Ridgefield, Washington
Date: May 7, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mtom-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

TM: Another my friend, I think, found a job and we go to the sawmill. "We find a job," he said. That's Joey Tanaka and he, "Where this place you found a job?" He said, "Nagrom." And oh, we go to Nagrom and work for another sawmill again. So I quit again. I quit the market and YMCA school again. I quit those, then I went with Nagrom with another friend. Then, by gosh, over there same thing. They formed a baseball team and play baseball in the sawmill. And I know we went play baseball in the Selleck, too.

AI: What position did you usually play?

TM: Baseball? Me? I was a catcher and fairly good. I think I was a fairly good player when I think about it now. Well, anyway, we stayed about one year, then Ban Okada, you know him, and he wrote me recruiting ball player from National, so if you want to come, there is a job in the National.

AI: At National Sawmill.

TM: Yeah. And that's another lumber camp, pretty close to Mount Rainier, right in the foothill. So we quit Nagrom, then we went to the National and, by gosh, there that was an easy job.

AI: What was your job?

TM: [Laughs] What my job in the National, first they give me is a big timber come, then you just take a big hook, then just hookup. [Illustrates with his glasses, moving the two earpieces like a pincer] That's it. Then you just put the hook up then a crane take the big timber and they carry them away. Sometime two or three hours, was nothing to do, just to sit down because that big timber don't come. So timber come, why, I go down there and hook up. That's all. That was an easy job. Then summertime come we played ball, and we played the Eatonville sawmill team. Eatonville sawmill, they had a baseball team, too. Oh, back and forth we played quite a few times with the Eatonville team. And, oh, I don't know what his name was. Anyway, he was a book man in Eatonville. They, they don't like lose a game from National so they recruit good player from Seattle, and lots of good player came to Seattle. And National was one or two came from Seattle, they recruit from Seattle, too. One was Yamaoka, Oto Yamaoka. He came. He, I think became Hollywood actor or something afterward. Anyway, after recruit the good player from Eatonville and just about all one good, good team in the Seattle. We couldn't beat now. We used to win Eatonville all the time, but we don't, we couldn't win. And about next year or so, finally we pull out National because no more because Eatonville get too strong. Well...

AI: And all the players, all the players were Japanese, all-Japanese teams?

TM: Huh?

AI: The teams were all Japanese players?

TM: Team?

AI: All Nihonjin?

RT: Minna Nihonjin? The baseball, were they all Japanese?

TM: Oh, all Japanese, all Japanese team, yeah. They are real good player, too, in Seattle those days, and lots of them went to Selleck same way, easy job and play ball because summer vacation time there's a lots of boys. Yeah.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.