1927 Film Footage Found: Babe Ruth With Japanese American Allstars

A non-profit organization founded to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball (The Nisei Baseball Research Project), recently discovered never-before-seen footage of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and members of the Japanese American all-stars from 1927.   The 18mm film was shot 87 years ago in Fresno, CA, during Ruth’s and Gehrig’s barnstorming tour of the west coast after the 1927 World Series.

The film shows parts of a game between the Bustin’ Babes and Larrupin Lou’s that occurred on October 29, 1927.  Lou was joined by Japanese American all-stars Johnny Nakagawa, Kenichi Zenimura, Fred Yoshikawa and Harvey Iwata and the Larrupin Lou’s beat the Bustin’ Babes, 13-3.
Babe Ruth Lou Gehrig and Japanese AllStars. Kenichi Zenimura is in between Lou and Babe.

Babe Ruth Lou Gehrig and Japanese AllStars. Kenichi Zenimura is in between Lou and Babe.

Many Japanese American ballplayers had the skills to play the game at the professional level, but were not welcome in the MLB in Babe’s time.  Instead they played in leagues of their own and became America’s baseball ambassadors across the Pacific.  Kenichi Zenimura is now known as the “Father of Japanese American Baseball” and was instrumental in negotiations that led to Babe Ruth’s barnstorming tour of Japan in 1934.

Enjoy the amazing footage below:

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