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Announcement: Wally Yonamine Biography

Discussion in the Book Reviews forum
Announcement: Wally Yonamine Biography
I just signed with University of Nebraska Press to publish my biography of Wally Yonamine. The manuscript is finished and books should be on the shelves next December or the following January.
Re: Announcement: Wally Yonamine Biography
[ Author: Guest: Kenny | Posted: Sep 25, 2006 1:46 AM ]

That's great news. Congratulations on signing the new book deal. I really enjoyed your last book and really look forward to this new one. Please keep us updated on the book's release date. Thanks!
Re: Announcement: Wally Yonamine Biography
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: Sep 26, 2006 7:44 AM | NIP Fan ]

Oh, that's awesome, congratulations!

I loved his chapter in your other book Remembering Japanese Baseball, so I look forward to reading his whole story. He's a fascinating character. Keep us updated.
Re: Announcement: Wally Yonamine Biography
[ Author: Sara B | Posted: Sep 30, 2006 12:27 AM | HT Fan ]

Congrats again, Rob, and I'll be looking forward to adding that book to my shelf, next to your others!

Just as an aside, the posting reminds me of the nice display/tribute to Wally Yonamine at the Honolulu airport - both football and baseball memorabilia. Something to look for if you are passing through.
Re: Announcement: Wally Yonamine Biography
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jul 1, 2007 9:37 PM | YBS Fan ]

There is now a site for this announced book, Here's a quick excerpt:
Wally Yonamine was born in 1925 on a Maui sugar plantation to poor Japanese immigrants. His success on the gridiron allowed him to escape the plantation and eventually sign with the San Francisco 49ers in 1947. After an injury ended his football career, Yonamine turned to baseball. In 1951, the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants chose him to become the first American to play in Japan during the Allied occupation. Yonamine adopted his football skills to baseball and played hard--stealing bases, sliding hard, and knocking down opponents. The Japanese were aghast at the aggressive American. Opposing fans hurled insults and rocks at him, but he quickly became one of the most dominant players in the league. His success changed the way the Japanese played the game, and opened the door for other Americans to come to Japan. Although it was often trying, Yonamine adapted to Japanese culture and stayed in Japan as a player, coach, and manager for 37 years. He was elected to the Japanese Hall of Fame in 1994. Now, at 80 years-old, Yonamine’s friendly and down-to-earth personality make him a role model in both Hawaii and Japan. He has been decorated for his contributions in American and Japanese foreign relations by the Emperor of Japan and is involved in a variety of charitable organizations.
The publish date is now set for the Spring of 2008.
Re: Announcement: Wally Yonamine Biography
[ Author: Guest: Gary Garland | Posted: Feb 27, 2008 3:24 PM ]

Actually, the assertions about Yonamine being the first American to play in Japan during the occupation are untrue. There are at least two other Nisei who played there in the late 1940's and Tadashi Wakabayashi also came back in the immediate aftermath of the war.

I've seen a number of U.S. press reports about Yonamine being some kind of Jackie Robinson-like figure, but that's nonsense. Aside from the fact that race didn't come up as an issue when NPB officials met following the surrender to get the league back on its feet, they didn't even have any rules regarding how to formally control player movement until after the problems with the disposition of the Nishi Nihon Pirates arose and Nishitetsu attempted to spirit Noboru Aota off to their ball club while several Hanshin players were lured over to Mainichi.

Even if I think Yonamine is indeed an interesting guy, to ascribe something to him that doesn't stand up to scrutiny doesn't do either him or history any favors.

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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