This new exhibit features stories dating back to the 1870s when baseball was introduced in Japan, to the modern era featuring some of MLB’s star Japanese players.
SEATTLE — For the first time, Major League Baseball (MLB) will feature an exhibit during All-Star Week showcasing the Japanese American baseball experience.
“I remember going down the hallway looking at this photo thinking, ‘Man how many kids can say their Uncle Johnny was on Lou Gehrig’s team and beat Babe Ruth 13-3?’,” said Kerry Yo Nakagawa, the project director of Nisei Baseball Research Project.
This is just one of the many untold stories highlighted at MLB’s “Play Ball Park” at Lumen Field this week.
“These marginalized, invisible and forgotten players, they finally now we get to honor their spirit,” said Nakagawa. “American Japanese ball players set up this bridge so that these players today can succeed. They had the five tools, they had the passion, it’s just they never got an opportunity.”
Now baseball fans have the opportunity to learn more about Japanese Americans’ impact on the sport. This new exhibit features stories dating back to the 1870s when baseball was introduced in Japan, all the way to the modern era featuring some of MLB’s star Japanese players. Nakagawa wants visitors to better understand what Japanese Americans have had to overcome just to play.
“The all-American pastime alive even though they were incarcerated and this gave them a sense of normalcy, it gave the communities a sense of pride,” said Nakagawa.
Nakagawa is feeling prideful today as he works to make this exhibit a staple for all-star weeks for years to come. Eventually making its way to Cooperstown.
“We’ll be able to go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and see how impactful Japanese Americans were with Major League Baseball,” said Nakagawa.