On July 8, 2011 I'll be sharing the following presentation at the SABR 41 conference in Long Beach, CA. If you're attending, come check it out.
Baseball Brothers: Kenichi Zenimura and Nisei-Negro Leagues Competition in California, by Bill Staples, Jr.
Babe Ruth's 1934 barnstorming tour in Japan is legendary, but it was far from the only contact between Japanese and American baseball clubs. Illuminating a chapter of his 2011 biography of Japanese American baseball pioneer Kenichi Zenimura, Bill Staples, Jr. recounts encounters between Zenimura-led teams and Negro Leaguers piloted by Lon Goodwin ... almost a decade before the Babe crossed the Pacific. The tours by the all-black Philadelphia Royal Giants, little known here in the U.S., have been credited by Japanese sources as an important inspiration leading to the creation of professional leagues in their nation.