From a July 5 press release by McFarland & Co. featuring a new book by SABR member Bill Staples Jr.:
McFarland, the leading independent publisher of academic and nonfiction books, is pleased to announce the release of the new biography “Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer.”
Written by baseball historian and author Bill Staples, Jr., and featuring a foreword by current Toronto Blue Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu, the first Asian-American manager in major league history, the new biography delivers a thorough and fascinating account of Kenichi Zenimura (1900-1968), the man recognized by historians as the “Father of Japanese-American Baseball.”
While Jackie Robinson and the Negro Leagues have been well documented, few baseball fans know about the Japanese American Nisei Leagues, or of their most influential figure, Zenimura. A phenomenal player who excelled at all nine positions, “Zeni” possessed a gift for using the game to transcend the ignorance and intolerance of his era.
As a player, captain, and manager, he worked tirelessly to export the American style of play in Japan, leading several goodwill trips to Asia and helping to negotiate tours of Japan by Negro League all-stars and Babe Ruth. One of the most fascinating chapters of Zenimura’s career occurred when he established a 32-team league behind the barbed wire of Arizona’s Gila River Internment Camp during World War II.
Read more about Staples’ book here: http://billstaples.blogspot.com.
Originally published: July 5, 2011. Last Updated: July 5, 2011.