In a reception held at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix on Wednesday night, the AMA Phoenix chapter named the NBRP the winner of the Top Multicultural, Integrated Marketing Campaign, for the 2013 event "Honoring the Legacy of Japanese American Baseball."
Thursday, March 7, 2013, marked the 70th Anniversary of the historic Zenimura Field, and thus the official start of organized baseball played behind barbed wire at the Gila River Japanese American Internment Camp in Arizona during WWII (March 7, 1943). Baseball in the camps gave the 13,000 internees at Gila River a sense of normalcy, hope and made life bearable during this dark chapter in U.S. history.
The NBRP was founded in 1996 to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball though education (events, curriculum development, media, etc.). The Arizona division of the NBRP proposed a partnership with the Oakland A’s during a 2013 Cactus League Sprint Training game to commemorate this once in a lifetime anniversary, honor the legacy of Japanese American baseball, and educate the public about this little-known chapter of our shared history.
The NBRP reached out to the A’s because the team is known as a league innovator, they had supported the Japanese American community in the Bay area in the past, have several players on their roster from Japan, plus their game date and location at Phoenix Municipal Stadium marked the closest MLB site to the historic internment camp ball field, located approximately 45 miles south of Phoenix.
The attendance at the ballgame itself was roughly 5,000 people. However, through the power of social media and earned media, the message from this one day celebration for Zenimura Field and Japanese American Baseball reached an estimated 1.5 million people around the globe.