Monday, January 22, 2018

RIP Shinsaku Katahira

Former Hawk, Lion and Whale Shinsaku Katahira passed away today from pancreatic cancer.  Katahira was the fourth round pick of the Nankai Hawks in the fall 1971 draft out of Tokyo Agricultural University.  He spent the first 10 years of his career with the Hawks although I don't think he really became a regular until the late 70's.  He was traded along with Masahiro Kuroda to the Seibu Lions after the 1981 season for Ritsuo Yamashita and Yoshinori Yamamura.  He had a couple good years with the Lions - helping them to win the Nippon Series three times in the next five seasons - before they traded to the Yokohama Taiyo Whales along with Tamotsu Nagai for Shintaro Hirose after the 1986 season.  He spent three years with the Whales (the final one as a player-coach) before retiring at the end of the 1989 season.  He made the All Star team in 1980 and won a Golden Glove (at first base) in 1983.  He played in five Nippon Series - with Nankai in 1973 and with Seibu in 1982-83 and 1985-86.  He played mostly a backup role in those Series although he did have a home run in the deciding Game 6 of the 1982 Series.

After retiring he coached with the Lions from 1990 to 1997 and again from 2008 to 2009.  He was also a TV commentator.  In 2013 he managed the East Astraia team in the Japan Women's Baseball League.  He returned to manage the team (now called Saitama Astraia) again in 2016.

1981 Calbee #36

2010 BBM Lions 60th Anniversary #33

1988 Takara Whales #2

2016 Epoch JWBL #40
H/T to Graveyard Baseball for their obituary which was the only English language source I've seen on his passing so far.

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