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Former Flyers pitcher Dobashi dies at 77

Kyodo

Masayuki Dobashi, who won 162 games over an illustrious career with the Toei Flyers and managed the Yakult Swallows and Nippon Ham Fighters, died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on Sunday. He was 77.

Dobashi, who passed away from the same ailment as legendary New York Yankee Lou Gehrig after whom the disease was named for in the United States, distinguished himself as a fierce competitor after joining the Flyers in 1955.

He famously recorded nine consecutive strikeouts in 1958, and had a career-high 30 wins in 1961 before winning the MVP award for leading his team to its first Japan Series title in 1962. Dobashi retired in 1967 with a 162-135 record and a career 2.66 ERA.

He managed the Nittaku Home Flyers (currently Nippon Ham) in 1973, took over the Swallows’ helm in 1984 until 1986 and skippered the Fighters in 1992. In recent years, Dobashi had headed the selection committee to decide the Sawamura Award winner, Japan’s most prestigious accolade for pitchers.