Former Hiroshima Carp slugger Koji Yamamoto and Tsuneo Horiuchi, a key starting pitcher during the Yomiuri Giants’ record Japan Series title streak, have been inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame along with legendary amateur player Seiichi Shima, the selection panel announced Friday.
Yamamoto, 61, helped the Carp win their first-ever Central League championship in 1975 with a league-high .319 average and led the team to back-to-back Japan Series titles in 1979-80 as their cleanup hitter. He coached third base for Team Japan at the Olympic qualifying tournament in December.
In his 18-year playing career that began in 1969, all with the Carp, Yamamoto hit 2,339 hits and 536 homers while driving in 1,475 runs and leading the league in batting average once, home runs four times and RBIs three times. The Hiroshima native later served as Carp manger in 1989-93 and in 2001-05.
Horiuchi, 59, joined Yomiuri from a Yamanashi Prefecture high school in 1966 as a first-round draft pick and had an impressive rookie season with a 16-2 record and a 1.39 earned run average — a performance that earned him the Sawamura Award that year.
Horiuchi went on to post double-digit wins for 13 straight seasons, including a career-high 26 wins in 1972, as he helped Yomiuri to nine consecutive Japan Series crowns. He compiled a career record of 203-139 with six saves and a 3.27 ERA.
Shima pitched no-hitters in the semifinals and final of the 1939 national high school championships for the Kaiso team from Wakayama Prefecture. He was killed in action during World War II at age 24.
The selection of the three players brought the total number of Hall of Fame inductees to 164.
Hammies make trade
The reigning Pacific League champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and Tokyo Yakult Swallows made a six-player trade on Friday, Kyodo News reported.
Pitchers Shugo Fujii and Yataro Sakamoto and infielder Hajime Miki were dealt from the Swallows, which will be led by new manager and ex-Fighters general manager Shigeru Takada, for hurlers Takehiko Oshimoto and Yoshitaka Hashimoto and outfielder Keizo Kawashima.
Fujii, a 30-year-old southpaw, joined the Tokyo club in 2000 and became the CL’s winningest pitcher with 14 victories in 2001. He was saddled with seven wins in each of the last two seasons.