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‘Pioneers of Japanese American Baseball’

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A new book, “The Pioneers of Japanese American Baseball,” (Fitts, Robert K., 2021) is now available in paperback and on Kindle.

The illustrated history introduces readers to the fascinating heroes of early Japanese American baseball from the visiting students of the 1870s to the barnstorming professional teams of the early 20th century. The 70 full-color glossy pages contain nearly a hundred vintage photographs and present the teams and players that helped make baseball an integral part of Japanese-American culture.

Chapters focus on the little-known stories of Japanese immigrant baseball. Did you know that the first Japanese team played in Washington D.C.? Or that the first Japanese professional game took place in a small town in Kansas? Learn about the first Japanese college players and the first clubs from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Tacoma, Portland, Vancouver, Sacramento, and Spokane.

While the new title is self-published, apparently for business reasons—books like these are niche-market products— it has proper ISBN numbers. Moreover, the author has written extensively on the topic, including four books published by University of Nebraska Press, so he appears to be the real deal. An archaeologist by training, Mr. Fitts left academics to dig more deeply into his passion, JA baseball from Issei time forward.

Readers interested in Mr. Fitts’ book might also like the related Seattle store,  Ebbet’s Field Flannels, which sells old-fashioned baseball uniforms, and the related title, “Japanese American Baseball in California“ (Kerry Yo Nakagawa, 2014), both previously reviewed together in the NAP (“Leaving Home Plate,” Jan. 2019).