FUKUOKA – Nobuyuki Kagawa, former catcher for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, died of a heart attack on Friday, police said. He was 52.
A native of Osaka, Kagawa was a slugger known by the nickname “Dokaben” for his resemblance to a baseball-playing manga character of the same name.
He joined what was then the Nankai Hawks in 1980 as a second-round draft choice, hitting a home run in his first career at-bat.
Kagawa retired after the 1989 season, the year the team moved from Osaka to Fukuoka and became Daiei.
In 714 games, he had 460 hits and 78 home runs.