Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and former Nishitetsu Lions infielder Yasumitsu Toyoda died of pneumonia Sunday evening at the age of 81.
After joining Nishitetsu (now the Seibu Lions) and winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1953, Toyoda helped the Lions to three consecutive Japan Series championships in the Pacific League team’s “Golden Age” from 1956-58.
Toyoda was the Japan Series MVP in 1956, the year in which he won the PL batting title with a .325 average. He went on to win six Best Nine awards over 17 years and retired with 263 home runs, 888 RBIs and a .277 batting average in 1,814 games.
After drawing the curtain on a stellar career in 1969, which also included seven years with the Kokutetsu Sankei Atoms (now Tokyo Yakult Swallows) in the Central League, he had a brief coaching stint with the Kintetsu Buffaloes.
Since 1972 he had been acting as a TV and radio commentator and author, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.