Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rare 1927 Film Footage of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Japanese American Baseball All-Stars Discovered

FRESNO, Calif., (October 29, 2014) -- The Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP; niseibaseball.com), a non-profit organization founded to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball, is proud to announce today the public release of rare, never-before-seen footage of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Japanese American all-stars from 1927.

As Japanese American ballplayers Travis Ishikawa, Jeremy Guthrie and Royals' bench coach Don Wakamatsu take the field for the 2014 World Series, the NBRP proudly unveiled rare 18mm film shot 87 years ago when Ruth and Gehrig barnstormed the west coast after the 1927 World Series.

The film includes highlights from October 29, 1927, when Fresno's Japanese American all-stars Johnny Nakagawa, Kenichi Zenimura, Fred Yoshikawa and Harvey Iwata joined Gehrig on his Larrupin Lou's squad to defeat the Bustin' Babes, 13-3.

The presence of Ishikawa, Guthrie and Wakamatsu in the 2014 World Series honors to the legacy of all Japanese American ballplayers, not just the all-stars featured in this rare footage. Many had the tools and passion to play the game at the highest level, but never received the opportunity. Instead they played in leagues of their own and became America's baseball ambassadors across the Pacific.



To learn more about the legacy of Japanese American baseball, visit www.NiseiBaseball.com or join our Facebook community at www.facebook.com/niseibaseball.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

One Proud Papa: Alan Ishikawa, Father of the Giants’ New Home Run Hero

I suspect that the only thing more exciting than hitting a home run to clinch the pennant for the Giants is to watch your son hit a home run to clinch the pennant for the Giants.

Alan Ishikawa, the father of Travis Ishikawa who hit a historic home run in the ninth inning to secure a spot in the 2014 World Series for the SF Giants, must be one proud papa.



We know a little bit about the Alan and the Ishikawa family from a 2009 blog post by the SF Giants:

Ishikawa is half Japanese on his father’s side. His great-grandparents came over from Japan to work on the railroads and settled in Chicago. During World War II, his grandparents were imprisoned in an internment camp in Colorado. They now are in their 90s and living in Southern California – where decades ago they owned and worked farmland before the freeways came through. Travis has never asked his grandparents about the internment camp.

“They never give you an opening to talk about it,” he says. “My father has never talked about it. I think it’s a cultural thing. There are some things you just don’t talk about.”

Travis never even knew his father had played much baseball until he was going through some old boxes in the attic. In one dusty box were newspaper clippings of Alan Ishikawa throwing a no-hitter and a one-hitter in high school.

Alan Ishikawa, a controller for a chain of Washington supermarkets, is 5 feet 8. His son is 6-3. Obviously, Travis didn’t get his size from his dad. But his paternal bloodlines seem to have passed down strength and resilience from the railroads and farms, and more than a little bit of baseball talent.



In that “dusty box of newspaper clippings” known as the world wide web, I was able to learn a little about Alan Ishikawa’s baseball past. Knowing that the Ishikawa grandparents resided in SoCal/Los Angeles after the war, I searched for Alan Ishikawa on Ancestry.com and found him in the 1970 Compton High School yearbook. I think you might be able to identify Ishikawa in the team photo. Even though he’s only 5’8”, he stands out from his teammates (... just a bit).



As the only Asian-American ballplayer on all African-American team, I suspect that he has some interesting stories to share about that experience. Based on the list of players below, it appears that three of Alan’s teammates went on to play pro baseball:
Some noteworthy observations: Davis played several years in Japan, and -- just in time for the 2014 World Series -- Walton was born in Kansas City in 1952 and drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1972.

Below are pages 169 and 170 of the Compton High School yearbook featuring all members of the 1970 varsity baseball team. 



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While I am happy for Travis Ishikawa for his accomplishments and helping the Giants make it to the 2014 World Series, I'm intrigued by the life perspective that his father Alan Ishikawa must have right now … yesterday (figuratively speaking) his parents were incarcerated by the U.S. government in a camp in Colorado ... and today his son is a hero in the national pastime. Only in America!


Stay tuned …Travis mentioned in the 2009 blog that little is known about his grandparents’ WWII camp experience. Next I’ll check Ancestry.com archives and see what I can find on the Ishikawas at the Granada Incarceration Camp (aka Amache) in Colorado.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts Win Chandler Girls Softball League 10U Championship

CHANDLER, AZ (June 1, 2014) – The Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts were crowned champions of the Chandler Girls Softball League 10U Division with a 7 to 1 victory over the Delta Diversified Black Widows on Saturday, May 31 at Folley Park.

Five runs in the first three innings allowed the Lightning Bolts to put the game away early. A triple by Tristin and an RBI single by Krystyna during the first inning helped spark the Lightning Bolts rally. Tristin got a hit in each of her three at bats.

Pitcher Alison dominated with 14 strikeouts in the Lightning Bolts win. She allowed one earned run, three hits and one walk over five innings.

The Bolts piled on three more runs in the top of the third. A single by Kyndra ignited the offense, scoring Liberty. That was followed up by Tristin's single, scoring Jaila.

The Lightning Bolts pushed across one run in both the fourth inning and the fifth. In the fourth, they scored on an RBI double by Lily, scoring Bella. In the fifth, Kyndra’s single was followed by a line drive to centerfield by Tristin, driving in the final run of the day.

The Bolts' triple threat of Alison, Kyndra and Tristin combined for eight hits and four RBIs to help secure the championship crown.



A SEASON TO REMEMBER
The Lightning Bolts finished their season with a 15-1 record, with one loss coming at the hands of the Black Widows in a close 4-3 battle early in the season.

Over the course of the 16-game clip the Bolts outscored their opponents by an impressive 186 to 22 runs. Offensively, the Lightning Bolts were unstoppable with a team batting average of .467 and a .618 on-base percentage.

On the mound, Alison finished with a 14-1 record, including one save. In 75 innings pitched, she compiled a 0.72 earned run average, 195 strikeouts and allowed just 9 walks. With the support of a solid defense behind her, she also threw three no-hitters and one perfect game during the season.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Lightning Bolts Move on to Championship with 4-3 win over Lil' Devils

CHANDLER, AZ (May 30, 2014) – The Zenimura.com Lightning Bolts clinched a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Uncle Bears Lil' Devils on Friday at Folley Park.

Alison's 18 strikeouts were enough to push the Lightning Bolts past the Lil' Devils. She allowed one earned run, three hits and one walk over six innings.

The Bolts jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. A single by Tristin, scoring Sage started the inning off. The Lightning Bolts then tacked on more runs when Tristin scored on an RBI single by Alison.

The game was tied 3 to 3 in the fifth inning when Shannon delivered the game winning hit. With two outs and Lily on third base, Shannon drove a 2-2 pitch down the right field line for a double, and driving home the game-winning run.

Alison returned to the mound with a 4-3 lead and shut down the side in the bottom of the fifth with three strikeouts to secure the victory and move on to the 10U league championship.



VIDEO LINK: Last inning, game winning hit.

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