Former NPB commissioner Ichiro Yoshikuni died of pneumonia today at 11am at his home in Shibuya, Tokyo. He was 95.
Yoshikuni became the 9th NBP commissioner in March, 1989 (after spending time as a government official) and remained at the post until he stepped down on March 1998. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 as the only person in NPB history to serve 9 years as commissioner. Yoshikuni was also presented with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure medal in 1988.
Yoshikuni also helped improve relations between pro and amateur organizations -- he helped establish Zen Nihon Yakyu-gi (Japan Baseball) to help work with the two organization -- and was also influential in the development of free agency and the draft's reverse selection picks.
UPDATE 9/9 @ 4:30pm - Services for Yoshikuni took place yesterday in Shinagawa, Tokyo. Around 200 people attended.