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Wally Kaname Yonamine dies at 85; first American to play pro baseball in Japan after World War II
Wally Kaname Yonamine dies at 85; first American to play pro baseball in Japan after World War II

Wally Kaname Yonamine, the first American to play professional baseball in Japan after World War II and a former running back for the San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 85 and had prostate cancer. Yonamine died Monday at a Honolulu retirement home, said his son, Paul. The outfielder was known as the "Nisei Jackie Robinson" for breaking into Japanese baseball and building ties between the countries in a sensitive period after World War II. Facing a language barrier, he was sometimes met with hostility for being an American and his aggressive style of play. Yonamine, considered one of the greatest athletes to come out of Hawaii, was born in Olowalu, Maui, on June 24, 1925....

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