Tsutomu Wakamatsu, who helped the Yakult Swallows win the Japan Series as both a player and a manager, has been inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame along with the late Noboru Aota, the selection panel announced Tuesday.
Baseball historian Ichiro Kimishima and Yoshinori Okoso, a former Nippon Ham Fighters owner, were also inducted, both posthumously, bringing the total number of Hall of Fame inductees to 168.
Wakamatsu, 61, played a pivotal role in helping Yakult win its first Japan Series title as an outfielder in 1978 and repeated the feat as Swallows manager in 2001. He owns a lifetime batting average of .319, an all-time high among Japanese players.
Aota, one of the top sluggers of his time, featured among a fearsome Yomiuri Giants offense that included Shigeru Chiba and Tetsuharu Kawakami and won one batting title in the Central League in addition to five home run and two RBI crowns in his career.