Japanese Baseball "Iron Man" Kinugasa Dies

Sports Society

Tokyo, April 24 (Jiji Press)--Former Japanese professional baseball player Sachio Kinugasa, nicknamed "iron man" for setting the then world record of appearing in 2,215 consecutive games for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, died of ascending colon cancer on Monday, it was learned Tuesday. He was 71.

Kinugasa joined the Carp as a catcher in 1965 after graduating from high school in the western Japan city of Kyoto, where he was from. He was soon converted to an infielder.

He dedicated his career to the team until his retirement as player in 1987.

Forming a powerful batting duo with Koji Yamamoto, Kinugasa helped the Carp win the Central League title in 1975 for the first time since the club's founding in 1949. The team came to be known as the "Akaheru," or red helmet, lineup for its red team color adopted in the first championship year.

Kinugasa was famed for his consistency. Despite breaking his shoulder in a game in 1979 after being hit by a pitch, he played the next day as a pinch hitter.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press