The Oakland Athletics will honor the legacy of Japanese American baseball prior to their Cactus League game against the Seattle Mariners Thursday, March 7 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, as pre-game ceremonies will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the opening of Zenimura Field, where games were played at the Gila River Internment Camp approximately 40 miles south of Phoenix during World War II.
Three surviving players who helped build and played on the field-pitcher Tets Furukawa, shortstop Masao Iriyama and second baseman Kenso Zenimura--will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. They were among 13,000 Japanese Americans who were incarcerated at Gila River during the war, as was Kenichi Zenimura, the "Father of Japanese American Baseball." Kenso Zenimura, who has many family ties in Japan, also played for the Hiroshima Carp of Japan's Central League in 1953.
Thursday's 1 p.m. game will also feature Japanese American baseball trivia, contests and promotional giveaways. The Nisei Baseball Research Project, a non-profit founded to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball, will also offer an informational display at the stadium.
To order game tickets, visit http://www.oaklandathletics/spring. Tickets can also be purchased at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this week or by calling 1-877-493-BALL.