Thursday, December 12, 2013


I was thinking about trios of dominant managers the other day with Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre having been  elected to the Hall of Fame last week.  There was a trio of managers in Japan that pretty much dominated the 1950's - Kazuto Tsuruoka (aka Kazuto Yamamoto), Osamu Mihara and Shigeru Mizuhara.  The three of them won 9 of the 10 Nippon Series played between 1951 and 1960 - Mizuhara's Giants winning in 1951-53 and 1955, Mihara winning with the Lions in 1956-58 and the Whales in 1960 and Tsuruoka winning with the Hawks in 1959.

Incredibly, these three also accounted for 18 of the 20 pennants during this time period - Tsuruoka and the Hawks lost to the Giants in the Series in 1951-53 and 1955, Mihara lost the Series in 1954 (to the Dragons managed by Shunichi Amachi, the only Series won by someone other than these three) and Mizuhara and the Giants lost four straight Series from 1956-59 - the first three to the Lions and the last to the Hawks.   Amachi and Yukio Nishimoto (1960 Daimai Orions) were the only other manager to win pennants during this time.

Mizuhara and Tsuruoka would continue their successes into the 1960's.  Tsuruoka lead the Hawks to another championship in 1964 over the Tigers and a couple Nippon Series losses to the Giants (now lead by Tetsuharu Kawakami) in 1961, 1965 and 1966 (the first two V9 years).  Mizuhara would win a championship with the Toei Flyers over the Tigers in 1962.  Mihara would never win another pennant or championship.

Tsuruoka and Mihara are the top two in managerial wins in Japanese history - Tsuruoka has 1773 wins, Mihara has 1687..  Mizuhara is number four on the list with 1585.

Here are menko cards for the three of them (coincidentally they are all from 1958):

1958 Maruo Military And Space Backs (JCM 67) Tsuruoka

1958 Maruo Military And Space Backs (JCM 67)  Mihara

1958 Who Am I? (JCM 54) Mizuhara

Just to compare, during the same period of time in MLB, there were five managers who won the World Series - Casey Stengel won 5 with the Yankees (1951-53,56 and 58), Walt Alston won two with the Dodgers (1955,59), Leo Durocher won in 1954 with the Giants, Fred Haney won with the Braves in 1957 and Danny Murtaugh with the Pirates in 1960.  The 20 pennants were split between 7 managers - Stengel won 8 with the Yankees (1951-53,55-58,60), Alston won three with the Dodgers (1955-56,59), Chuck Dressen had two with the Dodgers (1952-53), Durocher had two with the Giants (1951,54), Haney had two with the Braves (1957-58), Al Lopez had one with the Indians in 1954 and one with the White Sox in 1959 and Murtaugh had the one in 1960.  Alston and Murtaugh would go on to win a couple more - Alston in 1963 and 65 and Murtaugh in 1971.

1 comment:

Greg Dunn said...

Always wondered why Murtaugh wasn't in the HOF and now with Torre, LaRussa and Cox all in has even more of a case. Better winning % than either Torre or LaRussa and one more WS title than Cox.