The Barnstorming Hawaiian Travelers

A Multiethnic Baseball Team Tours the Mainland, 1912–1916


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About the Book

This book chronicles the Hawaiian Travelers, a barnstorming baseball team of multiethnic, multiracial Hawaiians, who played across the continental U.S. from 1912 through 1916. This team took on college, semi-professional, minor league, and African American nines. In the process, they won the majority of these games, while subverting venerable racial conventions. It also describes the experiences of some of these players after 1916 as they sought baseball careers on the East Coast of the mainland. This book sheds light on a generally untold story about baseball, race, and colonization in the United States during the early decades of the 20th century.

About the Author(s)

Joel S. Franks is a lecturer of Asian American studies and American studies at San Jose State University, and has written several books about Asian American and sports history. He lives in Cupertino, California.

Bibliographic Details

Joel S. Franks

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 262
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6566-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8915-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii
Preface      1
Introduction      5

1. The First Journey, 1912      27
2. The “Yellow Peril” at Bat, 1913      64
3. The Not So “All-Chinese,” 1914      94
4. Never the Home Team, 1915      123
5. One Last Time, 1916      156
6. Further Travels      175
7. Buck Lai’s Journeys      196

Epilogue      223
Notes      231
Bibliography      244
Index      250

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Finalist, Larry Ritter Book Award—SABR
  • “A valuable scholarly contribution to the fields of American history, Asian American history and baseball history”—Nine
  • “A serious and illuminating study of race, color and ethnicity in pre–World War I America. While the Travelers didn’t defeat anti–Asian (and especially anti–Chinese) racism in the U.S., they nevertheless used baseball to prove themselves and to break down barriers and prejudices. Franks brings to life an important and neglected history of the period, the team, and its players. Highly recommended.”—Rob Elias, author, The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy & Promoted the American Way Abroad
  • “Well researched and clearly written, Franks’s book illuminates the history of baseball, ethnic identity, and race relations. While scholars will benefit from it, The Hawaiian Travelers will appeal to a broad audience interested in the history of baseball, Hawaii, or race.”—C. Richard King, author, Native Athletes in Sport and Society
  • “In a remarkably researched and detailed book, Franks has pieced together the players’ lives to show the shifting boundaries of race and ethnicity in early 20th century America. It’s a must read for any baseball fan interested in the international game or the sociology of sport.”—Robert K. Fitts, author of Banzai Babe Ruth