Chunichi Dragons manager Hiromitsu Ochiai was named the recipient of the Matsutaro Shoriki Award Tuesday for his contributions to the development of Japanese baseball.
Ochiai led Chunichi to its first Japan Series title in 53 years and was unanimously chosen by the selection committee members.
“He lives up to his strong beliefs and knows how to develop talent. He has built a strong team,” said Tetsuharu Kawakami, the chair of the four-member selection committee.
Ochiai became the first member of Chunichi to receive this award and the first one from the Central League since 2003, when then-Hanshin Tigers manager Senichi Hoshino won with Softbank Hawks manager Sadaharu Oh. Chunichi finished second behind the Yomiuri Giants in the CL regular season but beat the third-place Hanshin Tigers and the Giants in the postseason Climax Series.
Chunichi then got its revenge on the defending champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in a rematch of the 2006 Japan Series.
“This is the award named after a person who made great efforts in developing baseball. I’m very honored to have received it,” Ochiai said. Shoriki, once president of the Yomiuri Shimbun, was instrumental in the establishment of pro ball in Japan.