Whirty: Celebrating the legacy of Negro Leaguers in Japan

From SABR member Ryan Whirty at Home Plate Don’t Move on April 18, 2020, with SABR member Bill Staples Jr.:

Between 1927 and 1934, the Philadelphia Royal Giants embarked on several goodwill tours across the Pacific to Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines and the Hawaiian Territories. As African Americans, they were relegated to second-class citizenship in the U.S., but abroad they were treated like kings. Unlike the previous tours of major league stars who ridiculed their opponents through embarrassing defeats, the Royal Giants made the games competitive, dignified and enjoyable for opposing players.

In Gentle Black Giants: A History of Negro Leaguers in Japan, Kazuo Sayama and Bill Staples Jr. chronicle the tours of the Royal Giants and demonstrate that without the skill and humanity displayed by the Negro Leaguers, Japanese ballplayers might have become discouraged and lost their love for the game. Instead, the experience of sharing the field with these “gentle, black giants” kept their spirits high and nurtured the seeds for professional baseball to flourish in Japan.

Read the full article here: https://homeplatedontmove.wordpress.com/2020/04/18/celebrating-the-legacy-of-negro-leaguers-in-japan/

Originally published: April 23, 2020. Last Updated: April 23, 2020.