Nisei Jackie Robinson' Dies

By JAYMES SONG
|  Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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Nisei Jackie Robinson' Dies

Wally Kaname Yonamine, the first American to play professional baseball in Japan after World War II and a former running back with the San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 85.

        His son, Paul Yonamine, told The Associated Press that Yonamine died Monday night at a Honolulu retirement home after a bout with prostate cancer.
      
The Maui-born Yonamine is considered one of the greatest athletes to come out of Hawaii. He played for the 49ers in their second season in 1947, three years before the team joined the NFL.

Yonamine went on to play baseball for the Yomiuri Giants and the Chunichi Dragons, helping transform how the game was played in Japan.
       
He won three batting titles and was the 1957 Central League MVP before serving decades as a manager.

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