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Toshiharu Ueda, who as manager led the Hankyu Braves to three consecutive Japan Series Championships, was inducted into the Japanese Hall of Fame along with four other notable contributors to the game, baseball officials announced Friday.

News photoMasato Yoshii plays catch during workouts on Friday after his first press conference as an Orix BlueWave.

The baseball Hall of Fame selection committee picked Ueda, who as skipper of the Braves led the team to three championships from 1975 to 1977.

Ueda resigned as manager over an incident in Game 7 of the Japan Series in 1978 in which he took the blame for a protest involving a home run that delayed the contest for 1 hour and 19 minutes.

He then skippered the Nippon Ham Fighters for five years from 1995 and won five league championships altogether in his 20-year career as manager. Ueda compiled a record of 1,322 wins against 1,136 losses and 116 ties with the Braves, BlueWave and Fighters.

Also on the list of inductees was former Yakult Swallows manager Junzo Sekine, who as a pitcher notched double-digit wins with the Kintetsu Buffaloes for three straight years from 1953.

Sekine, who joined the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1950, also made contributions as an outfielder and played in both leagues, including with the Yomiuri Giants in 1965, the year in which he retired. He played as a pitcher and outfielder in the All-Star Series five times.

Kohei Matsuda, the former owner of the Hiroshima Carp who died in July last year, also received a special award posthumously for his contributions to the game.

The late Sakae Suzuki, who developed the “rubber baseball” and Horace Wilson, an instructor from the United States who is said to have introduced baseball to Japan in 1872, were also elected to the hall.

A winning attitude

KOBE (Kyodo) Veteran right-hander Masato Yoshii, who on Tuesday struck a deal with the Orix BlueWave after being released by the Montreal Expos last month, said Friday he is determined to help the Pacific League club win games next season.

“I want to contribute to the team winning by getting on the mound every five days and pitching my best,” said Yoshii, who agreed to a one-year contract worth $550,000 (about 65.6 million yen) plus incentives with Orix after playing five season in the majors.

Yoshii, who has a major league career record of 32-47 with a 4.62 ERA in 162 games with the New York Mets, Colorado Rockies and Expos, added that what he learned most of all in the majors was a stronger conviction to win.

A drastic bargain

NAGOYA (Kyodo) In a bid to halt dwindling attendances, the Chunichi Dragons will reduce admission fees for all regular season games at the Nagoya Dome this coming season, officials of the Central League club said Friday.

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