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Our good friend, Kazuo ‘Pancho’ Ito, one of the most colorful characters on the international baseball scene over the past 40 years, died in Tokyo on July 4 after a long illness. He was 68.

A former public relations director for Japan’s Pacific League, Pancho later became a well-known TV and radio personality, broadcasting and commenting about Major League Baseball which he followed since his days as a youngster, long before satellite and cable TV and the likes of Hideo Nomo and Ichiro (Suzuki) exposed the majors to the vast following it enjoys in Japan today.

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