I’ve been collecting information off- and on-line about baseball players who made it to the Majors of Japanese ancestry background. It has been tough because there is no record for of half- or quarter- Japanese, but it has been a very interesting process. Recently at a convention, I met very knowledgeable sports reporter from Honolulu Advertiser, Wes Nakama, and he told me a lot of information that I didn’t know. He was able to recite stats form certain years of the top of his head, it was impressive, like “Lum hit .294 with 16 HR and 94 RBI in 1973″. Eventually I’d like to put this information on my Japaneseballplayers.com website, but for now I’m posting the compiled list on my blog here so I won’t forget it! This list is by no means completed and more information is needed. You can contact me here.
Currently playing in the Major League
- Kurt Suzuki Oakland Athletics (2007 – ) Nikkei Sansei
- Travis Ishikawa San Francisco Giants, came up to major in 2009
- Shane Victorino Philadelphia Phillies. Grand mother is Japanese, so he is quarter Japanese-American. From Hawaii
- Jeremy Guthrie Baltimore Orioles Nikkei mother (Japanese-American who does not speak Japanese) Pitched for WBC Team USA in 09.
- Added, Oct, 2009: According to SF Chronicle, Astros RHP Billy Sadler‘s maternal grandmother also is Japanese
Currently playing in the Minor League
- Shane Komine Oakland A’s First pure Nikkei Japanese American
- Kent Sakamoto Pittsburgh Pirates organization
- Charlie Zink Boston Red Sox AAA (2002 -) Mother is Japanese-American, whose last name was Ige(?), has middle mame Tadao. Grew up in US and does not speak Japanese.
- Matt Inoue Chicago White Sox organization(?)
- Robert Boothe LA Dodgers Born and grew up in Japan, Japanese mother, whose last name was Kawamoto. Has Japanese Nationality.
Past Major Leaguers
- Dave Roberts San Francisco Giants. Born in Okinawa with Japanese mother and African-American father – Retired and is a NESN analyst
- Lenn Sakata 2B/SS 11 years in Major, Last SS to start before Cal Ripken Jr. Streak with the O’s. Currently coaching Yokohama Bay Stars.
- Ryan Kurosaki Had brief stint with STL Cardinals. Was teammate of Lenn Sakata in Hawaii.
- Don Wakamatsu Yonsei Japanese. Current Mariners manager
- Onan Masaoka LHP Dodgers 3rd round draft pick in 1996. Yonsei Japanese. Trying to make come back with the independent league
- Mike Lum Half Japanese. Braves, Reds, Cubs. A big year in 1973. One of the best pinch hitter of all-time, once pinch hit for Hank Aaron. Ended career w/ Taiyo Whales.
- Atlee Hammaker SF Giants
- Derek Tatsuno University of Hawaii, ’77-79. NCAA record 20wins in 1979. College Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Michael Nakamura Japanese father and Australian mother, was born in Japan (Nara) but grew up in Australia