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Hitting legend Yamauchi dies at 76

Kyodo News

Former Japanese baseball hitting great Kazuhiro Yamauchi died of liver failure in a Tokyo hospital Monday night, familiar sources said Thursday. He was 76.

Yamauchi led the Pacific League in batting average once, home runs twice and RBIs four times between 1954 and 1961.

The outfielder also won the PL MVP award in 1960 after having 32 homers and 103 RBIs, both league highs, in the Daimai Orions’ run to the PL title.

He moved to the Hanshin Tigers after the 1963 season in the so-called “Trade of the Century” with right-hander Masaaki Koyama, who is in third place on the all-time wins list with 320.

Yamauchi, from Aichi Prefecture, was a .295 career hitter with 396 homers and 1,286 RBIs in 19 seasons through 1970 with the Mainichi Orions, Daimai, Hanshin and Hiroshima Carp.

Yamauchi managed the Lotte Orions in 1979-1981 and the Chunichi Dragons in 1984-1986.

He was inducted into the Japanese baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.