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An NPB legend passes: Wallace Kaname Yonamine passes at the age of 85

by on Mar.01, 2011 @ 10:54 pm, under NPB

The media in Japan (Daily Sports, Nikkan Sports, Sanspo) is reporting the death of the great former Yomiuri Giant, Wallace Kaname Yonamine.  According to the reports, Mr. Yonamine passed away in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 28th, 2011 after battling prostate cancer.  He was 85.

Career Stats

YR TM G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI SB CS SH SF BB IBB HBP SO GIDP AVG OBP SLG OPS
1951 YOM 54 213 181 17 64 17 5 1 94 26 26 4 3 -- 28 -- 1 18 3 .354 .443 .519 .962
1952 YOM 116 533 474 104 163 33 5 10 236 53 38 11 8 -- 47 -- 2 38 8 .344 .405 .498 .903
1953 YOM 104 437 365 58 112 24 2 6 158 54 13 5 10 -- 57 -- 3 33 9 .307 .405 .433 .838
1954 YOM 125 564 477 93 172 40 6 10 254 69 20 9 10 3 69 -- 2 56 5 .361 .441 .532 .973
1955 YOM 107 487 424 68 132 22 2 13 197 65 10 3 9 3 49 3 1 66 5 .311 .382 .465 .846
1956 YOM 123 529 452 86 153 20 4 13 220 47 25 9 9 2 63 7 2 72 4 .338 .420 .487 .907
1957 YOM 126 515 467 55 160 20 7 12 230 48 10 7 3 6 35 3 2 62 9 .343 .386 .493 .879
1958 YOM 128 532 467 64 137 21 3 8 188 58 8 3 7 4 51 1 0 77 9 .293 .360 .403 .763
1959 YOM 117 490 432 67 124 16 8 3 165 26 6 2 4 1 49 0 3 52 7 .287 .363 .382 .745
1960 YOM 126 454 399 48 91 19 3 5 131 26 6 2 8 1 43 4 3 55 5 .228 .307 .328 .635
1961 CHU 76 184 146 17 26 6 0 1 35 9 1 3 8 1 28 1 1 24 4 .178 .313 .240 .552
1962 CHU 17 17 14 0 3 0 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 .214 .353 .214 .567
Career Totals 1219 4955 4298 707 1337 238 45 82 1911 482 163 58 79 21 522 19 20 553 68 .311 .387 .445 .831

Managing Stats

YR TM RNK G W L T WPCT GB
1972 CHU 3rd 130 67 59 4 .532 7.0
1973 CHU 3rd 130 64 61 5 .512 1.5
1974 CHU 1st 130 70 49 11 .588 -
1975 CHU 2nd 130 69 53 8 .566 4.5
1976 CHU 4th 130 54 66 10 .450 21.5
1977 CHU 3rd 130 64 61 5 .512 15.5
Career totals 780 388 349 43 .526

Titles

MVP - 1957
Leading Hitter - 1954, 1956 - 1957
Best Nine - 1952 - 1958
All-Star Game - 1952 - 1959
Japan HoF - 1994

Comments from various former players (from the Sanspo report):

Sadaharu Oh - "The first autograph I got when I visited Korakuen Stadium when I was an elementary school kid was Yonamine-san's.  You could say that he was my mentor for every facet of the game of baseball when I turned pro.  He was a very gentle man and to have to part ways like this is really disappointing."

Shigeo Nagashima - "I recently heard he wasn't doing very well and I was praying for him to make a full recovery.  I was shocked to hear this sudden news.  He provided me with a lot of inspiration through his aggressive style of play.  He was also a mentor that made me think of baseball as a combat sport with his violent slides on the base paths.  I relied on him as a coach to help bring an aggressive style of play to the younger players during my years as manager.  I pray that he finds happiness on the other side."

Senichi Hoshino - "I've known him since his years as an active player.  He really helped me out a lot.  I remember him as being a manager that did a great job of mixing US and Japanese styles of baseball.  I heard he wasn't feeling well, but this is really sad.  I pray he finds happiness."

Hiromitsu Ochiai - "Another great baseball legend, that did so much for baseball, has passed.  I am extremely sad.  I pray that he finds happiness."

Ryozo Kato - "He helped change Japanese baseball.  His aggressive style of sliding into bases is just one portion.  His offensive abilities are still vivid in my mind.  He had a great career and deserves the truest of blessings."

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