Saturday, September 3, 2011

RIP Ichiro Yoshikuni

Former NBP Commissioner Ichiro Yoshikuni passed away yesterday at age 95.  Yoshikuni held the post from 1989-98, the longest stretch of time that anyone has been in office.

In 1992, BBM included cards of the Yoshikuni along with the two league presidents in its regular set.  Here's his card (#243):

I have to say it's a little amusing that each league has its own president.  In the US, each league had a president because originally the American and National leagues were completely separate entities (which is why each league had its own set of umpires as well).  It took years, but these anachronisms were finally phased out in the mid-1990's.  The two leagues in NBP, however, were never separate entities (at least not in the sense that the AL and NL were originally) and it has probably never really made sense for the leagues to have their own offices as opposed to simply being run from the commissioner's office.  (On the other hand, I will concede that the Pacific League historically has had challenges that the Central League has not, so it has probably served them better having someone whose job it was to look out for their interests solely rather than simply as part of NBP.  Although that person signed off on having a split season from 1973 to 1982, so maybe I'm giving them too much credit...)

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