Goro Mikami, from Donaldson Network newsletter, July 2011 (pdf)
Continuing my series on early Japanese and Japanese-American ball players on African American teams, we turn today to Goro Mikami. I’ve written about him before, and Brian McKenna has a SABR biography of Mikami that covers most of the basics. But I wanted to make a couple of key correction/additions:
In my previous post I noted that “Mikami” appeared in a 1916 box score playing for an “All Nations baseball nine from New York City” (Chicago Defender, August 5, 1916) that had no apparent connection to the “genuine” All Nations of J. L. Wilkinson, John Donaldson, and José Méndez, a team that at that time was based in Kansas City. I want to point out that “Mikama, a Japanese outfielder” was reported to be with the Wilkinson All Nations in 1914 (Omaha World Herald, June 4, 1914, p. 11), and “Makami” or “Makomi” played shortstop for the same team in 1915. Here’s a box score, selected more or less at random:
So Goro Mikami appeared, at least briefly, with Wilkinson’s All Nations in both 1914 (as an outfielder) and 1915 (as a shortstop), as well as the All Nations of New York in 1916 (as a second baseman).
And, despite what has been frequently said (including by me), I don’t think I have actually seen him billed as “Jap Mikado” anywhere.
Moreover: it is commonly stated (again, including by me) that Goro Mikami was the first Japanese ballplayer to play professionally in the United States. This, it turns out, may not be true. More about this in a few days.
Waseda University baseball team, 1911, with Goro Mikami in the middle row, far left (From Deep Right Field, October 26, 2011)