Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Yomiuri skipper’s father dies at 79

KYODO

Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara’s father Mitsugu Hara, who as a high school baseball manager won two national championships, has died of heart failure, according to the team. He was 79.

The elder Hara, who was hospitalized May 4 after suffering a serious heart attack, died Thursday night at a hospital in Kanagawa Prefecture. Following a funeral attended only by close relatives, the family has planned a farewell party at a Tokyo hotel on July 14.

In 1965 Mitsugu Hara, whose grandson Tomoyuki Sugano was this year’s Opening Day pitcher for the Giants, led Miike Kogyo High School in Fukuoka Prefecture to the summer national championship as manager of the school’s team in its tournament debut — casting a bright light on a coal-mining town struggling through recession.

He later served as manager of Tokai University Fuzoku Sagami Senior High School in Kanagawa Prefecture, leading the school’s club to the 1970 summer national title and was runner-up at the 1975 spring national invitational tournament, when his son Tatsunori enrolled as a sophomore.

Tatsunori’s father took over as manager of Tokai University’s baseball team when Tatsunori enrolled there in 1977. He stepped down once before retiring for good in 1996, after which he became an adviser for the school’s baseball club.