Wally Yonamine

Wally Yonamine

by Robert K Fitts

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Wally Yonamine by Robert K Fitts

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780803217829
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication date: 09/01/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB

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

Foreword     ix
Acknowledgments     xiii
Prologue: A Gamble     1
"Just a Country Boy from Olowalu, Maui"     7
Football Star     19
The San Francisco 49ers     34
Lucky Breaks     48
Of Seals and Bees     63
A Winter of Uncertainty     73
Debut     84
The Jackie Robinson of Japan     91
Settling In     117
Lessons from Santa Maria     136
Gaijin Dageki Oh-Foreign Batting Champion     161
World Travelers     174
Hard Labor     187
Lucky Seven     211
Young Giants     226
End of an Era     248
Coach     259
Yonamine Kantoku     271
Sometimes Nice Guys Do Finish First     282
Suketto     301
Hall of Fame     312
Appendix     321
Bibliographic Essay     323
Index     333

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