Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Two-time Sawamura Award winner Takahashi dies at 69

Kyodo

Kazumi Takahashi, a left-hander who won two Sawamura Awards for the Yomiuri Giants during their run of nine straight Japan Series championship seasons, has died of multiple organ failure, informed sources said Wednesday. He was 69.

Takahashi, who had a career record of 167-132 and 12 saves with the Giants and the Nippon Ham Fighters, died at a Tokyo hospital on Tuesday afternoon, according to the sources.

The Hiroshima native joined the Giants in 1965 out of high school, the first of nine straight seasons in which the club would win the Japan Series under manager Tetsuharu Kawakami. Takahashi went 22-5 in 1969, when he won his first Sawamura Award as the Central League’s premier starting pitcher. He won it again in 1973.

Takahashi was traded to the Nippon Ham Fighters prior to the 1976 season in the blockbuster deal that brought Japan’s all-time hits leader Isao Harimoto to the Giants. Takahashi’s best season with Nippon Ham came in 1981, when he went 14-6 and pitched against his old club in the Japan Series.

He retired as a player in 1983 and coached with both the Fighters and Giants. In 2009, Takahashi took over the job of managing Yamanashi Gakuin University.