Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan, 1907-1958 (Volume 1)

SABR Digital Library: Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan, 1907-1958 (Volume 1)

Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan, 1907-1958 (Volume 1)Add a new baseball book to your collection from the SABR Digital Library:

Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan, 1907-1958 (Volume 1)
Edited by Robert K. Fitts, Bill Nowlin, and James Forr
Associate editors: Len Levin and Carl Riechers
Foreword by Allan H. “Bud” Selig
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-970159-89-9, $9.99
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-970159-90-5, $32.95
8.5″ x 11″, 288 pages

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese baseball, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is proud to publish Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan.

Over 100 baseball teams from the United States and Hawaii have crossed the Pacific to play baseball in Japan. Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan is the first book written in English that focuses on these international tours.

In this book, discover how:

  • The female Philadelphia Bobbies team tour ended in tragedy
  • Babe Ruth tried to prevent World War II
  • Lefty O’Doul helped reunite the US and Japan through baseball
  • A Native American baseball team was cheated and stranded 5000 miles from home
  • A Negro League team helped start Japanese professional baseball
  • Japanese Americans used baseball to build a bridge between the two cultures
  • Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson finished their careers in Japan

These, and many other stories, introduce readers to the fascinating world of Japanese baseball.

Volume 1 focuses on tours between 1907 and 1958. During this time period, many of the sport’s greatest stars—including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson—played in the Land of the Rising Sun. These tours helped spread the game across the globe, spawned thousands of individual friendships, and helped bring nations together through the mutual love of baseball.

Volume 1 contains individual chapters written by leading members of the Society for American Baseball Research on all 15 professional squads that traveled to Japan before 1960 as well as four collegiate and eight amateur/semipro teams. Each chapter is accompanied by game results and, when available, player statistics.

Lead editor Robert K. Fitts is the author of seven books on Japanese baseball and Japanese baseball cards. Fitts is the founder of SABR’s Asian Baseball Committee and a recipient of the society’s 2013 Seymour Medal for best baseball book of 2012, the 2019 McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Award, the 2012 Doug Pappas Award for best research presentation at the SABR convention, and the 2006 and 2021 SABR Research Awards. He has twice been a finalist for the Casey Award and has received two silver medals at the Independent Publisher Book Awards. While living in Tokyo in 1993-94, Fitts began collecting Japanese baseball cards and now runs Robs Japanese Cards LLC. Information on Rob’s work is available at

Contributors include: Adam Berenbak, Stephen D. Boren, Mark Brunke, Carter Cromwell, James E. Elfers, Robert K. Fitts, James Forr, Christopher Frey, John Harney, Tom Hawthorn, Len Levin, Satoshi Matsumiya, Yoichi Nagata, Roberta J. Newman, Joe Niese, Bill Nowlin, Ralph Pearce, Carl Riechers, Keith Spalding Robbins, C. Paul Rogers III, Allan H. “Bud” Selig, Yobun Shima, Dennis Snelling, Bill Staples Jr., Yusuke Suzumura, Steven K. Wisensale, and Kat Williams.


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About the SABR Digital Library

For more than 40 years, SABR and its members have led the way in publishing the best baseball historical and statistical research. Our publications program is shifting to take advantage of new methods of publishing. Not only will we continue to publish new books like Can He Play? A Look At Baseball Scouts and Their Profession (2011); Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (2013); Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox (2015); Au jeu/Play Ball: The 50 Greatest Games in the History of the Montreal Expos (2016); The Pride of Smoketown: The 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords (2020); and Jackie Robinson: Perspectives on 42 (2021), which showcase the best efforts of SABR’s members, chapters and committees, but new technology makes it possible for us to bring out-of-print titles like The Fenway Project (2013); Go-Go to Glory: The 1959 Chicago White Sox (2019); and Green Cathedrals (2020) back again.

Visit to find all past titles and download your favorites. Books will be available in digital formats as well as paperbacks produced by “print on demand” (POD).

SABR members can download all Digital Library e-book editions for free and save 50% on purchase of the paperback editions. If you’re not a member, click here to join SABR.

Stay tuned throughout the year for new (and old!) titles that we’ll be adding to the SABR Digital Library. To learn more about SABR Publications, contact Publications Editor Cecilia Tan at


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Originally published: December 14, 2022. Last Updated: November 27, 2023.