Japanese American Baseball in California: A History

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Four generations of Japanese Americans broke down racial and cultural barriers in California by playing baseball. Behind the barbed wire of concentration camps during World War II, baseball became a tonic of spiritual renewal for disenfranchised Japanese Americans who played America's pastime while illegally imprisoned. Later, it helped heal resettlement wounds in Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Central Valley and elsewhere. Today, the names of Japanese American ballplayers still resonate as their legacy continues. Mike Lum was the first Japanese American player in the Major Leagues in 1967, Lenn Sakata the first in the World Series in 1983 and Don Wakamatsu the first manager in 2008. Join Kerry Yo Nakagawa in this update of his 2001 classic as he chronicles sporting achievements that doubled as cultural benchmarks.
ISBN: 9781626195820
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: California
Series: Sports
Images: 111
Pages: 224
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
While coaching his son's little league team in Fresno, California, Kerry Yo Nakagawa was inspired to preserve the legacy of Japanese American baseball and culture for future generations, and that evolved into a full-time non-profit project, the Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP), and the previous version of this updated book. The NBRP exhibit "Diamonds in the Rough" has been shown in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in Tokyo. In twenty major league seasons, Fresno, California native Tom Seaver won 311 games, struck out 3, 640 batters and compiled an earned run average of 2.86. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1967 and three Cy Young Awards (1969, 1973 and 1975), all with the New York Mets. He was 25, 7 for the '69 World Series-winning "Amazin' Mets." He also pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. An actor of Japanese American ancestry born in 1932 in Isleton, California, Pat Morita's formative years were spent in a World War II, era internment camp. He was the first American of Asian descent to be nominated for an acting Academy Award, for his performance as Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" (1984). He was a regular on the television series "Sanford and Son, " "Happy Days, " "Ohara" and other shows. He wrote the preface for the original 2001 edition of this book. Morita passed away in 2005.
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