Friday, July 10, 2009

2009 Jul 10 - Baseball

Stockton Ports Honor Local Japanese-American Baseball Teams

{Click on any photo to view Full Size image}

At the bottom of this Blog are scans of the text added to today's Baseball Programs for the Minor League team, the Stockton Ports. The Ports are part of the Class A California League.

The Japanese Consul General of San Francisco, Yasumasa Nagamine is present at the game.

The teams being honored are the Stockton Yamatos who played from 1920 - 1941. The Lodi Templars who also played in those decades. And lastly the Stockton Asahi who played from 1961 - 1966. I was a member of that Asahi team for all of those years.

The Ports have a fairly new ball park that was opened for the 2005 season. It is located on the north bank of the Stockton Channel near the channels end.

Season ticket holder parking and the front of the ball park

Built on what is Banner Island, these are the commemorative plaques

Left and center field

Right field

Since both the Yamatos and the Templars go a long way back, most save a couple were represented by their spouses and children.
The Morita's of Lodi

Alan Horita from Lodi

Will Kagawa of Lodi holding the programs

The Yagi's and Saiki's from Stockton

The Kamibayashi's are on the far right and Ted in the white cap played for the Yamatos and was their only player attending

Roy Yoneshige and the Hirota's

Ted Yoneda who was the impetus for starting up the Asahi's and his clan arrive.

Now here are a few of my contemporaries.
Art Supnet who is half Japanese and half Filipino was a star pitcher and hitter in high school and American Legion ball. Art only played with the Asahi's in the early years as he joined the Army shortly after high school

Tad Yoshimura who played pool more than baseball

Jerry Ueda, his wife Sumi and son Mark. I worked for the same County Agency as Jerry for many years also.

This was the line up of former players and their representatives before the ball game.

Consul General, Yasumasa Nagamine gives a short speech of congratulations.
Then there were about 10 "first" pitches thrown. But this was the first of them.

Fibber Hirayama, who was also being honored. Fibber who grew up in the Fresno area played for the Stockton Ports in 1952 before going on to play for the Hiroshima Carp in the Japanese Majors and became a two-time All Star in Japan. Fibber went back to live and work in the Fresno area after his baseball playing days were over.

The following are the text portions that are cut and pasted from the 4-page program. The photos on the pages were too low a quality to scan. To read the text you will have to click on the image to open a bigger image.

Here is the original scan of the photo on the Asahi's page. One name is missing in the photo credits. That of Jim Tsunekawa, in the back row between Steve Gotanda and Ron Tsuruta.
This photo was scanned from a program for the 1964 California Nisei Baseball Championships being held in Stockton over the Labor Day weekend. Three of my college room mates are in the photo, Ron Kusama, Nori Yabumoto and Ken Kobayashi (who now resides in Adelaide, South Australia).

See also: A Century of Japanese American Baseball


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