Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kamisama, Hotokesama, Inaosama

Hall Of Fame pitcher Kazuhisa Inao passed away today from cancer at age 70. His stats can be found here. Gary Garland has written a fantastic obituary/biography on his web site.

While Inao is amongst the career pitching leaders in many categories, perhaps his biggest claim to fame was his performance in the 1958 Japan Series, pitching for the Nishitetsu Lions against the Yomiuri Giants. The article in Mainichi Daily News states that Inao led the Lions back from a 3-0 deficit, starting and winning Games 4, 5, 6 and 7, along with hitting a game winning home run in Game 5. What the article doesn't mention is that he was the losing pitcher in Games 1 and 3. Inao actually appeared in 6 of the 7 games in the Series and got a decision in all 6 games. He pitched 47 innings of the 62 pitching innings in the Series. Needless to say, he was the MVP of the Series. He also pitched in all of the final 9 games during the regular season to help the Lions beat out the Hawks for the Pacific League pennant. All in all that year, he appeared in 72 of the Lions' 130 games. Lions fans came up with a special prayer for him - "Kamisama, Hotekesama, Inaosama" (God, Buddha, Inao).

(Some of the source material for this article came from "Japanese Baseball Superstars" by Gary Engel & Robert Fitts)

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