Thursday, October 09, 2008

Wally Yonamine Book Reading and Signing

On Sunday November 9th, at the Tokyo American Club in Roppongi, Rob Fitts and Wally Yonamine will be doing a book reading and signing, for the book "Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball".

You can find more official details about the event on the Yonamine book official site, including a map and an official timeline of the event.

We've discussed the book a little bit on, but since I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy yet here in Japan, I haven't read it and can't offer any opinion; I plan to buy a copy at the book event. Copies will be available there for 3000 yen.

I did read and review Rob Fitts's book Remembering Japanese Baseball a few years ago, and it was a great read. It also has a chapter with Yonamine's stories, but the new book is all about his life, instead of just a few selections.

If you don't know about Rob Fitts, he is largely known for being the biggest collector of Japanese baseball cards in the US.

If you don't know about Yonamine, he's often referred to as "the Jackie Robinson of Japanese baseball". He was the first American-born player to play in the NPB after World War 2, and despite being a nisei, a second-generation Japanese-American from Hawaii, he had to put up with a lot of resistance from fans, players, and people in general, for both his birthplace and for his playing style (he was known as a "dirty" player just for doing things like sliding into second base to break up a double play; but he was also known as a hard worker for hustling to first on a sacrifice bunt or an easy grounder). His contributions to the game make him one of the famous characters in its history even today.

I'm very much looking forward to reading the Yonamine book and, of course, to meeting Mr. Yonamine himself. Hope to see you all at the book event!

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