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Mike Lum

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Michael Ken-Wai Lum

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Born in Hawaii, Mike Lum was the first American of Japanese ancestry (AJA) to play in the major leagues. He was also one of the earliest big-leaguers of Asian extraction. Bobby Balcena, a Filipino-American, was the first; Japanese pitcher Masanori Murakami played with the San Francisco Giants in 1964-1965. A little-known fact about Lum (but easy to understand when looking at his picture) is that his mother was Japanese and his father was an American serviceman. He was adopted by a Chinese-Hawaiian family. (It's also noteworthy that Johnnie Williams, Lum's fellow Honolulu native, was one-quarter native Hawaiian because of his maternal grandmother.)

At Roosevelt High, Lum was also a football star, winning a scholarship to Brigham Young University and attracting the interest of Michigan State. He attended BYU for one semester before deciding to play pro baseball in 1963.

Coming to the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 1967, Lum played outfield and first base and was a left-handed pinch-hitting specialist. He was the first Hawaiian to reach the postseason, with the Braves in 1969. He later went on to play for the Cincinnati Reds, with whom he won a World Series ring in 1976, and Chicago Cubs. He holds the distinction of being the third of just six players ever to pinch hit for Hank Aaron. (When Lum did it in 1969, it was mistakenly reported that he was the first.)

Lum also went on to play for the Taiyo Whales of Nippon Pro Baseball for one season (1982).

He hit 3 home runs in one game for the Atlanta Braves on July 3, 1970 in the first game of a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres. He led the National League with 17 pinch hits in 1979 and finished with 102 career pinch hits.

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