Former Yomiuri / Hankyu pitcher and former Orix mascot, Osamu Shimano passed away at a hospital on the 8th. A cerebral hemorrhage was ruled to be the cause of death. He was only 59 years old.
While Shimano's pro baseball career never really took off (drafted in 1968 by Yomiuri, moved on to the Hankyu in 1976 and retired in 1978 after playing in 24 games, tossing 57.1 inning and going 1-4 with a 5.05 ERA), his career as the Orix mascot did. From 1981 until the day he retired on 10/3/1998, Shimano donned the BlueWave / Buffalo mascot costume and entertained fans at 1,175 games (he hit 1,000 on 6/15/1996).