Linda emailed to say that the Nisei Baseball Research Project, in collaboration with ESPN, will broadcast “American Pastime,” the story about Japanese-American baseball that emerged from the trauma of the World War II internment camps.
Al Beir, bat boy for Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, said “Pound for pound, the Nisei players were as good as the Major Leaguers. They ate, thought, and slept the game.”
From the press release:
The main character of the film, Kaz Nomura, is loosely based on the real-life Biz Mackey and Andy Cooper of the Negro Leagues during the 1920s and 30s., the Japanese American baseball pioneer who competed on the same diamonds with Hall of Famers , , , and
As an international baseball ambassador during this same period, Zenimura was also instrumental in exporting the American pastime to Japan as well. The fruits of his baseball-ambassador efforts are now reflected in the major league presence of Japanese players like Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners, of the Red Sox, and Kosuke Fukudome of the Cubs, just to name a few.
You can catch “American Pastime” on ESPN Classic on Friday September 26 29, 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific.
Also see this related post on Japanese American baseball during WWII.