• Kyodo


The Seibu Lions will retire former Nishitetsu Lions ace Kazuhisa Inao’s No. 24, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

It will be the first retired number since Seibu began to own the Lions in 1979. Inao died of cancer in November 2007 at age 70.

In 1958, Nishitetsu came back from a three-games-to-none deficit to win the Japan Series against the Yomiuri Giants, with Inao winning four straight decisions from Game 4, three of them complete games.

Three years later, Inao won a Japanese baseball single-season record-tying 42 games.

Widely known as one of Japanese baseball’s greatest pitchers of all time, Inao logged a lifetime 276-137 record with a 1.98 ERA, spending his entire career with the Lions until 1969.

Inao led the PL in wins four times and in ERA five times. In 1993, he was inducted into Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame.

Seibu plans to have all players on the team wear No. 24 in a game this summer.

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