Catcher Tsutomu Ito and pitchers Senichi Hoshino and Masaji Hiramatsu were inducted into Japan's Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday.
Ito, the catcher for the Seibu Lions' Pacific League dynasty of the 1980s and 1990s, was elected in the players division. The Chiba Lotte Marines skipper was named on 265 ballots, 79.6 percent of the 333 cast by reporters who have covered baseball for 15-plus years. A candidate must receive 75 percent of the valid ballots.
"I feel the need to offer an apology," Ito said. "I ask myself, 'Am I really worthy of this?' I think of the legends who influenced me as a player such as Tetsuharu Kawakami, Tatsuro Hirooka and Wally Yonamine, and am filled with gratitude that so many thought I should be in here, a step closer to them.