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Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles General Manager Marty Kuehnert called on the morning of April 14 to give me the sad news that Don Blasingame died of apparent heart failure in his sleep at home in Arizona the previous night. He was 73.

“The Blazer,” as he was affectionately known in Japan, was a baseball fixture in this country from 1967, when he joined the then-Nankai Hawks of Osaka as an infielder, through 1982 when he finished a two-year stint as field manager of the Hawks.

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