Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig barnstormed the West Coast after the 1927 World Series. Their stops included Fresno, where they took part in an exhibition game with Kenichi Zenimura (to Ruth’s right) and Nisei baseball teams. (Nisei Baseball Research Project)

FRESNO — The Nisei Baseball Research Project, a non-profit organization founded to preserve the history of Japanese American baseball, announced Oct. 28 the public release of rare, never-before-seen footage of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Japanese American all-stars from 1927.

As Japanese American ballplayers Travis Ishikawa, Jeremy Guthrie and Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu took the field for the 2014 World Series, the NBRP proudly unveiled 18mm film shot 87 years ago when Ruth and Gehrig barnstormed the West Coast after the 1927 World Series.

The film includes highlights from Oct. 29, 1927, when Fresno’s Japanese American all-stars Johnny Nakagawa, Kenichi Zenimura, Fred Yoshikawa and Harvey Iwata joined Gehrig on his Larrupin Lou’s squad to defeat the Bustin’ Babes, 13-3.

“The presence of Ishikawa, Guthrie and Wakamatsu in the 2014 World Series honors the legacy of all Japanese American ballplayers, not just the all-stars featured in this rare footage,” said Kerry Yo Nakagawa of NBRP. “Many had the tools and passion to play the game at the highest level, but never received the opportunity. Instead they played in leagues of their own and became America’s baseball ambassadors across the Pacific.”

Watch the video at

To learn more about the legacy of Japanese American baseball, visit or join the NBRP Facebook community at

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