|Born: June 24, 1925|
Olowalu, Hawaii Territory
|Died: February 28, 2011 (aged 85)|
|June 19, 1951, for the Yomiuri Giants|
|October 12, 1962, for the Chunichi Dragons|
|Runs batted in||482|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the Japanese|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Wallace Kaname Yonamine (与那嶺要, Yonamine Kaname, June 24, 1925 – February 28, 2011), was a Japanese American multi-sport athlete who played in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.
Yonamine, a Nisei Japanese American, was born in Hawaii to parents Matsusai (September 1, 1890 – July 31, 1988) and Kikue (February 14, 1901 – February 26, 1999). Yoanmine attended Lahainaluna and Farrington High School.
Professional football career
Yonamine signed a $14,000 dollar contract, playing running back for the San Francisco 49ers in their second season (1947). Doing so, he became the first football player of Japanese American ancestry to play professional football (Walter Achiu was the first Asian-American). In his one season with the team, he had 19 carries for 74 yards and caught 3 passes for 40 yards. His football career ended during the off-season, when he broke his wrist playing in an amateur baseball league in Hawaii.
Professional baseball career
In baseball, Yonamine was the first American to play professional baseball in Japan after World War II. A multi-skilled outfielder, Yonamine was also noted for his flexible batting style and aggressive baserunning during his career with the Yomiuri Giants and Chunichi Dragons. In Japan, Yonamine was a member of four Japan Series Championship teams, the Central League MVP in 1957, a consecutive seven-time Best Nine Award winner (1952–58), an eleven-time All-Star, a three-time batting champion, and the first foreigner to be a manager (Dragons, 1972–77).
Yanomine operated a highly successful pearl store, "Wally Yonamine Pearls", with his wife, Jane. The store is located in Roppongi, Tokyo. They also had a branch of their store in California run by their children. In 2008, Yonamine joined the Japanese Master League team Nagoya 80 D'sers as a coach/part-time player.
- Lewis, Ferd (March 1, 2011). "Hawaii sports pioneer Wally Yonamine dies". Star Advertiser. Archived from the original on December 13, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
- Weber, Bruce (March 4, 2011), "Wally Yonamine, 85, Dies; Changed Japanese Baseball", The New York Times
- "Wally Yanomine - Biographical Information". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on November 28, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
- Gustkey, Earl (June 18, 1989). "WARMING UP TO WALLY : Yonamine, First American to Play in Japan, Was Not an Instant Hit". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 13, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
- Carlson, Micheal (June 2, 2011). "Wally Yonamine: Sportsman who fought prejudice in two sports and in two countries". The Independent. Archived from the original on April 1, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
- Song, Jaymes (March 1, 2011), "'Nisei Jackie Robinson' dies at age 85", The Washington Post
- Fitts, Robert K. (2008). Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-1381-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wally Kaname Yonamine.|
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- (in Japanese) Japan Baseball Hall of Fame
- Dodgers to celebrate Japanese American Community Night