By Bill Staples Jr.
Whereas the tale of the Negro Leagues has been good documented, few baseball enthusiasts learn about the japanese American Nisei Leagues, or in their so much influential determine, Kenichi Zenimura (1900-1968). a skilled participant who excelled in any respect 9 positions, Zenimura used to be additionally a revered supervisor and could develop into the japanese American community's baseball ambassador. He labored tirelessly to advertise the sport at domestic and overseas, major goodwill journeys to Asia, assisting to barter excursions of Japan via Negro League All-Stars and Babe Ruth, and constructing a 32-team league in the back of the barbed cord of Arizona's Gila River Internment Camp in the course of global struggle II. this primary biography of the "Father of Japanese-American Baseball" gives you an intensive and interesting account of Zenimura's existence.
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Extra resources for Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer
76 The Nisei victory over the Pierce Giants is a testament to the strong caliber of talent they possessed as well. Much like their black counterparts, the Japanese Americans had the passion and talent to play at the highest level — they simply lacked the opportunity. With their conﬁdence and skill level lifted as a result of the victory over the Oakland Pierce Giants, the FAC set their sights on the Seattle Asahi. The 2. Breaking Down Barriers (1920 –1924) 41 Top: On July 2, 1923, Zenimura’s ballclub won 11 to 7 over the Oakland Pearce Giants, one of the top Negro League teams in California.
In February 1921 in New York, a group of Japanese representatives from Waseda, Tokyo, Yokohama and Kobe universities announced that they were eager to take “an all-star baseball team made up of members of the Race,” also known as Negro League players, to Japan. 25 Waseda University would have to wait another six years to play a ﬁrst-class team of Negro League players in Japan. Yet, they only needed to wait three weeks to compete against a ﬁrst-class team of Japanese American players in Hawaii. On May 9, 1921, the college boys from Waseda battled the Hawaiian Asahi, featuring many of Zeni’s former Island teammates 34 Kenichi Zenimura, Japanese American Baseball Pioneer and future FAC teammates.
It is quite possible that this creative expression was fostered by his time living with the Moore family on 916 Green Street. Zenimura family legend has it that Kenichi’s parents forbade him from playing baseball with the other boys, fearing that he would get hurt because of his diminutive stature. They would hide his equipment to keep him from playing, but sure enough little Zeni would ﬁnd the hidden equipment and sneak away to the ball ﬁeld to keep playing. In a 1943 interview with the Gila River Courier, Zeni stated that as a 12 year old he was a member of the seventh grade champions of a grammar school league.