Lars Nootbaar

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Lars Taylor-Tatsuji Nootbaar

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Biographical Information[edit]

Lars Nootbaar is the brother of Nigel Nootbaar.

His mother is Japanese, which qualified him to play for the Japanese national team in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. He was the first player ever to qualify for Japan's team through his ancestry, and not through growing up in the country. He was born and grew up in the U.S. and does not speak any Japanese. Any fears that Japanese fans would not take kindly to a gaijin playing for their national team were quickly assuaged as Japan breezed through its first four pool games of the tournament, with Nootbaar a solid contributor on both sides of the ball as the team's starting centerfielder. More than that, his celebratory gesture imitating the operation of a large-scale pepper grinder became viral, being imitated by fans everywhere, including in the streets and in the subways of Tokyo, while others brought real life pepper grinders to the Tokyo Dome. He had quickly become a true-life folk hero, with a local ramen restaurant even inventing a dish of "Nootbaar Noodles" in his honor. He was also a target for Japanese companies who wanted to use him in their advertisements especially after Japan won the title.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Clair: "Nootbaar proud to make history for his mother and heritage with Japan",, March 7, 2023. [1]
  • John Denton: "The Nootbaar brand is strong in Japan",, May 8, 2023. [2]
  • Jeff Jones (Belleville News-Democrat): "From coveted trade piece to key cog? Cardinals’ Nootbaar looks to carve out role in 2023", Yahoo! News, January 13, 2023. [3]
  • Matt Monagan: "A Japanese ramen spot is now serving 'Nootbaar Noodles'",, March 16, 2023. [4]

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