Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles manager Senichi Hoshino was voted unanimously Monday the winner of the Matsutaro Shoriki Award after guiding the Pacific League club to its first Japan Series title in its ninth year as a franchise.
The five-man committee, including world home run king Sadaharu Oh, voted in the 66-year-old Hoshino for the accolade. Eagles ace right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who went a record 24-0 with one save this season, received a special award in his honor.
“This award comes from the pioneer of Japanese baseball, and for a manager I think it is like receiving the Sawamura Award,” said Hoshino.
It was Hoshino’s second Shoriki Award after being honored in 2003 as a manager of the Hanshin Tigers.
“I never expected this (award). This great award is a result of the players who worked hard to give us the championship. It is because of the coaches and the players that I could receive such an award as this.”
The 25-year-old Tanaka, who is widely expected to try to make a move to the major leagues during the offseason, is the second player to receive a special award after Ichiro Suzuki, who broke the single-season major league record with 262 hits with the Seattle Mariners in 2004.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime award. It’s a special award, so I have to give thanks the people who chose me,” said Tanaka.
Last year, Yomiuri Giants skipper Tatsunori Hara and Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe were double recipients of the Shoriki Award, but Oh, who chairs the selection committee, said it was decided last year that it should only be awarded to one in 2013.
Hoshino was praised not only for his accomplishment but also for bringing a championship to the Tohoku region, which is still recovering from the devastation wrought by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters.
“In his third year, he made it third time lucky in winning the Japan Series, and he provided inspiration to all the people of the region,” Oh said.
The award is named after former Yomiuri Shimbun president Matsutaro Shoriki, who helped sow the seeds of professional baseball in Japan.