Yukio Ozaki, best remembered for a sensational first season with the Toei Flyers as a teenage pitcher in 1962, passed away at a Tokyo hospital Thursday morning after battling lung cancer, his family said Friday. He was 68.
Ozaki won the national high school tournament as a second-year pitcher with Osaka’s Namisho High School in the summer of 1961 and after that quit high school at 17 to join Toei (now the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters).
In his first season with the Flyers he posted a 20-9 record and a 2.42 ERA to help the team win its first league pennant. He was named Pacific League Rookie of the Year.
Ozaki posted a league high 27 wins in 1965 and over 12 seasons as a pro compiled a 107-83 record.