Former Hanshin Tigers ace Masaaki Koyama, whose 320 career wins ranks third all-time, was named to the Japanese baseball Hall of Fame on Friday along with the late Rikuo Nemoto, the architect of championship teams for Hiroshima, Seibu and Daiei.
Along with Koyama and Nemoto, the special awards committee for the Baseball Museum also selected the late Tsutomu Takeda, who helped popularize college baseball, and ex-Hiroshima side-arm pitcher Ryohei Hasegawa for induction into the hall.
Hard-throwing Koyama joined Hanshin in 1953 and helped lead the Tigers to the Central League pennant in 1962 with 27 wins and 13 shutouts and won the Sawamura Award as Japan’s top pitcher.
Despite his pitching heroics, however, Koyama was traded to the Tokyo Orions, the predecessors of today’s Chiba Lotte Marines, and was the Pacific League’s top pitcher with 30 wins that season.
His 320 wins, against 232 losses over 21 seasons, is third on the list for career victories in Japanese baseball behind Masaichi Kaneda of the Yomiuri Giants (400) and the Kintetsu Buffaloes’ Tetsuya Yoneda (340), who was inducted to the hall last year.
Nemoto helped build champions with the Hiroshima Carp, the Seibu Lions and most recently with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5