Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Hawks skipper Kudo, Takatsu among newcomers on Hall of Fame ballot

Kyodo

Fresh off his victory in the Japan Series as the rookie manager of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, Kimiyasu Kudo was placed on the ballot for Japan’s Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

Kudo, who won 224 games in a career spent with the Seibu Lions, Daiei Hawks, Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama BayStars, is one of nine newcomers on the ballot. Another man who will likely attract some votes is Tokyo Yakult Swallows pitching coach Shingo Takatsu, who saved 313 games in Japan and the big leagues.

Players who have been out of the game for five years are eligible for election in a ballot by longtime members of the media. Former Giants ace Masaki Saito, who missed being elected last year by three votes, remains on the ballot and is a good candidate to be among the inductees on Jan. 18.

Only one player made the grade last year, former Swallows catcher Atsuya Furuta.

Akinobu Okada, a star on the Hanshin Tigers’ only Japan Series championship team in 1985, and a successful manager with the club, was added to the ballot in the experts’ category, in which old-timers, managers and individuals who made other contributions to the game are considered for induction.