Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Ex-Nishitetsu Lion Wada dies at 72

Kyodo News

Hiromi Wada, the former battery mate of the late Nishitestu Lions ace Kazuhisa Inao, died of pancreatic cancer at a Fukuoka hospital early on Monday. He was 72.

A native of Oita Prefecture, Wada made his pro baseball debut for Nishitetsu (now Seibu Lions) in 1955 and played mainly as a catcher throughout his 18-year career with the Lions.

With Inao pitching, Wada helped Nishitetsu to three consecutive Japan Series titles from 1956. He recorded 1,104 hits and 100 home runs with 486 RBIs in 1,565 games.

After his retirement in 1972, Wada worked as a manager in the farm league for the Lions and the Hanshin Tigers and became a coach for a corporate league team in 2000.

Inao, a Japanese Hall of Famer who in 1961 tied the Japanese record for the most wins in a season with 42 victories and was once referred to as “iron man,” died of cancer in November 2007.