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Rob Fitts with Masanori Murakami in 2014


Rob Fitts with Wally Yonamine in 2008

About Rob Fitts


A former archaeologist with a Ph.d. from Brown University, Rob Fitts left academics behind to follow his passion - Japanese Baseball.  An award-winning author and speaker, his articles have appeared in numerous magazines and websites, including Nine, the Baseball Research Journal, the National Pastime, Sports Collectors Digest, and on

He is the author of eight books on Japanese baseball. His next book, Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan Volume II, 1960-2018 will be published by the Society of American Baseball Research  in 2023.

Earlier books include Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan Volume I, 1907-1958 (SABR 2022); The Pioneers of Japanese American Baseball; An Illustrated Introduction to Japanese Baseball Cards; Issei Baseball (University of Nebraska Press, 2020)Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer (University of Nebraska Press, 2015); Banzai Babe Ruth (University of Nebraska Press, 2012); Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball (University of Nebraska Press, 2008); and Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005).

Fitts is the founder of SABR’s Asian Baseball Committee and recipient of the society’s 2013 Seymour Medal for Best Baseball Book of 2012; the 2019 McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Award; the 2012 Doug Pappas Award for best oral research presentation at the Annual Convention; and the 2006 and 2021 SABR Research Award.  He has also been a two-time finalist for the Casey Award and a two-time silver medalist at the Independent Publish Book Awards.

A popular speaker on the history of Japanese baseball, Fitts has spoken at many venues including the Library of Congress, the Japan Embassy in Washington DC, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the Japan Society of New York, the Asia Society of New York, the Nine Baseball Conference, the Society of American Baseball Research Annual Convention, and the American Club, Tokyo.

While living in Tokyo in 1993-94, Fitts began collecting Japanese Baseball cards.  He is now recognized as one of the leading experts in the field and has created the ebusiness Robs Japanese Cards LLC.  He regularly writes and speaks about the history of Japanese baseball cards.



2022: Nichibei Yakyu: US Tours of Japan, Volume I: 1907-1958, edited with Bill Nowlan and James Forr. Society of American Baseball Research.

2022: 1908 Reach All-American Tour, in Nichibei Yakyu.

2022: Returning Home: The 1914 Seattle Nippon and Asahi Japanese American Tours, in Nichibei Yakyu.

2022: Joe DiMaggio’s Last Hurrah: The 1951 Lefty O’Doul All-Star Tour, in Nichibei Yakyu.

2022: The Bums in the Land of the Rising Sun: How the 1956 Dodgers’ Tour of Japan Marked the End of a Dynasty, in Nichibei Yakyu.

2022: Before Ohtani, There Was Just Oh. Beckett Vintage Collector, Feb/March 2022: 71-81.

2021: The Pioneers of Japanese American Baseball. Robs Japanese Cards com, LLC.

2021: Sayonara Jackie Robinson: How an American Hero Finished His Career in Japan, Jackie: Perspectives on 42, edited by Bill Nowlin and Glen Sparks. Society of American Baseball Research.

2021: Bebu Rusu: Babe Ruth in Japan. Beckett Vintage Collector 27.

2020: An Illustrated Introduction to Japanese Baseball Cards. Robs Japanese Cards com, LLC.

2020: Issei Baseball: The Story of the First Japanese American Ballplayers. University of Nebraska Press.

2019: The Shared National Pastime. NationalPastime 49.

2019: Babe Ruth and Baseball Diplomacy. The Babe (SABR Digital Library Book 72)

2018: The First Japanese Professionals: Guy Green's 1906 Japanese Base Ball Team. Nine 26.

2018: Baseball and the Yellow Peril. Base Ball: New Research on the Early Game,10.

2015: Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer.  University of Nebraska Press.

2014: The 1934 Tour of Japan and the Resulting Cards. Sports Collectors Digest. LINK

2012: Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage & Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan. University of Nebraska Press. 

2012: Babe Ruth and Eiji Sawamura. Baseball Research Journal 41. LINK

2012: Murder, Espionage, and Baseball: The 1934 All American Tour of Japan. Nine 21.

2008: Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball. University of Nebraska Press.

2007: The Evolution of Japanese Baseball Strategy. Baseball Research Journal 36.

2005: The Odyssey of Carlton Hanta. National Pastime. 25

2005: Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game. Southern Illinois University Press.

2002: Major League Tours of Japan.

2001: Tips on Collecting Japanese Cards. Vintage and Classic Baseball Collector 28

1994: Baseball Cards and Race Relations. Journal of American Culture 17. LINK



2002: Becoming American: The Archaeology of an Italian Immigrant. Historical Archaeology 36. 

2001: The Rhetoric of Reform: The Five Points Missions and the Cult of Domesticity. Historical Archaeology 35.


1999: The Archaeology of Middle-class Domesticity and Gentility in Victorian Brooklyn. Historical Archaeology 33.

1999: Confronting Class. Historical Archaeology 33.

1998: Inventing New England’s Slave Paradise: Master/Slave Relations in Eighteenth-Century Narragansett, Rhode Island. Garland Publishing, New York.

1997: Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Narragansett, Rhode Island. Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society 16 

1996: The Landscapes of Northern Bondage. Historical Archaeology 30

1991: Gravestone Inscriptions as a Source for Colonial History: A Case Study on the Transition from Puritan to Yankee New England. Man in the Northeast 41

Interviews & Pod Casts

December 2023: Effectively Wild LINK

May 2020: University of Nebraska Press Blog LINK

August 16, 2017: This week in Baseball History. LINK

July 27, 2017 at Value Over Replacement Grit.  LINK

July 15, 2015: Ron Kaplan's Bookshelf. LINK

May 1, 2015: Boise State Public Radio, LINK

March 15, 2013: Let's Talk LINK

December 12, 2012: Baseball PhD. LINK

March 27, 2012: NPR Only a Game. LINK

Video & Movies


2019: The Spy Behind Home Plate. LINK

Articles about Rob


2001: In the Cards.  Pennsylvania Gazette. LINK

 2012: Japan Culture NYC LINK

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