Wally Yonamine was both the first Japanese American to play for an NFL franchise and the first American to play professional baseball in Japan after World War II. This is the unlikely story of how a shy young man from the sugar plantations of Maui overcame prejudice to integrate two professional sports in two countries.
In 1951 the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants chose Yonamine as the first American to play in Japan during the Allied occupation. He entered Japanese baseball when mistrust of Americans was high—and higher still for Japanese Americans whose parents had left the country a generation earlier. Without speaking the language, he helped introduce a hustling style of base running, shaking up the game for both Japanese players and fans. Along the way, Yonamine endured insults, dodged rocks thrown by fans, initiated riots, and was threatened by yakuza (the Japanese mafia). He also won batting titles, was named the 1957 MVP, coached and managed for twenty-five years, and was honored by the emperor of Japan. Overcoming bigotry and hardship on and off the field, Yonamine became a true national hero and a member of Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
In addition to the foreword by Hawaiian senator Daniel K. Inouye, this Nebraska Paperback edition features a new preface by the author, commemorating Yonamine at his death in early 2011.
|Publisher:||UNP - Nebraska Paperback|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Robert K. Fitts is the author of Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game, for which he won the 2005 Sporting News–SABR Award for best baseball research.
Table of Contents
Prologue: A Gamble
1. "Just a Country Boy from Olowalu, Maui"
2. Football Star
3. The San Francisco 49ers
4. Lucky Breaks
5. Of Seals and Bees
6. A Winter of Uncertainty
8. The Jackie Robinson of Japan
9. Settling In
10. Lessons from Santa Maria
11. Gaijin Dageki Oh--Foreign Batting Champion
12. World Travelers
13. Hard Labor
14. Lucky Seven
15. Young Giants
16. End of an Era
18. Yonamine Kantoku
19. Sometimes Nice Guys Do Finish First
21. Hall of Fame