Japanese Baseball Legend Katsuya Nomura Dies at 84

Sports Society

Tokyo, Feb. 11 (Jiji Press)--Former renowned Japanese professional baseball catcher and manager Katsuya Nomura died of ischemic heart failure at a hospital in Tokyo in the small hours of Tuesday. He was 84.

A batting triple crown winner, Nomura played mainly for the Nankai Hawks, now the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Nomura led the Yakult Swallows, now the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, to a Japan Series victory three times as manager of the team.

A native of the town of Amino, now the city of Kyotango, in Kyoto Prefecture, western Japan, Nomura entered the Nankai Hawks, a Pacific League club, in 1954 from Mineyama high school in the prefecture and grew into a batter with a high probability of getting hits and at the same time with warning-track power.

In 1957, he became the Pacific League's home run champion, slugging 30 homers in the regular season for the year. This was Nomura's first batting title since he started his professional baseball career. In 1965, Nomura became the first triple crown winner since the end of World War II, with a batting average of .320, 110 runs batted in and 42 home runs.

Nomura won acclaim as a catcher for his ability to monitor and learn habits and personalities of batters. Nomura played a central role in supporting the Nankai Hawks' golden age, helping the team win the Pacific League pennant for three straight years from 1964 to 1966 and the Japan Series twice. He worked as playing manager of Nankai in 1970-1977, leading the team to a Pacific League victory in 1973.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press