This spring marks the 70th anniversary of when baseball behind barbed wire officially began in Arizona with the opening of the historic ball field at Gila River designed by "The Father of Japanese American Baseball," Kenichi Zenimura. To commemorate this anniversary, the Nisei Baseball Research Project has partnered with several organizations in Phoenix, including: The Oakland A's (spring training), the Gila River Indian Community, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) - Arizona Chapter, the City of Chandler Library and the Chandler Historical Society. The public is invited to participate in the following events:
Oakland A's Honor the Legacy of Japanese American Baseball
Thursday, March 7, 2013, 1 pm
Phoenix Municipal Stadium
5999 East Van Buren Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008 | Map Link
Event Summary | This spring training game between the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners will honor the 70th Anniversary of Zenimura Field, marking the official start of baseball behind barbed wire at the Japanese American Internment Camp at Gila River, AZ. The game will feature a special national anthem and a first-pitch ceremony with former Gila River ballplayers Kenso Zenimura, Tets Furukawa and Masao Iriyama. The game will also feature Japanese American baseball trivia, contests and promotional giveaways. The Nisei Baseball Research Project, the non-profit founded to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball, will also offer an informational display.
To order tickets, visit http://www.OaklandAthletics.com/Spring
Note: Use promotional code JA70 to receive a $4 discount.
From Internment to Hope: Arizona Celebrates Japanese American Baseball
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 10:30 to noon
Chandler Sunset Library
4930 W. Ray Road, Chandler, AZ, 85226 | Map Link
Event Summary | Chandler’s Sunset Library will host a free presentation from 10:30 a.m. to noon on March 9, 2013, that will share first-hand accounts of an important time in Arizona history that combines the topics of war, politics, race relations, and sports. “From Internment to Hope: Arizona Celebrates Japanese American Baseball” will honor the legacy of Japanese American baseball and its connection to the State's history during World War II, when more than 13,000 Japanese Americans were confined at the Gila River Internment Camp, located south of Chandler.
Baseball historian, author, and Chandler Parks Board member Bill Staples will share the story of baseball at Gila River, and he will be joined by three former ballplayers in the camp – Kenso Zenimura, Tets Furukawa, and Masao Iriyama. These pioneers will share their perspective on camp life and how the game of baseball helped break down barriers between the internees and surrounding community, and created a sense of hope for those behind the barbed wire.
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