Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Career Home Run Leaders #2 - Katsuya Nomura

Almost finished and Tuffy Rhodes and Tomoaki Kanemoto haven't completely made this list obsolete yet. Number Two on the all time list is long time Nankai Hawk catcher/manager Katsuya Nomura with 657 home runs. According to A Noburu Aota Fan's Notes, Nomura was the career leader in home runs from 1965 until Sadaharu Oh passed him in 1974. Curiously, Oh and Nomura are the only players in the top 15 to ever be the career leader.

Nomura played briefly for Nankai in 1954, then was up for good in 1956. Here's his 1964 Marusan Menko card:

He became player/manager for the Hawks in 1970, leading them to the Nippon Series in 1973 (to be the final team to lose to the V9 Giants). This is a card from an unknown source that I think is from 1975:

1975/76 Calbee #1113:

Nomura was dismissed as Nankai manager following the 1977 season, apparently because his wife Sachiyo was somehow interfering with the running of the team. He played for Lotte in 1978, then joined Seibu in 1979 and played for them until his career ended in 1980. (Oddly enough, the 1979-80 Lions featured three of the players from this list - Nomura, Koichi Tabuchi and Masahiro Doi.) This is his 1979 TCMA card (#13):

Following his retirement in 1980, he was a TV commentator until the Yakult Swallows hired him as manager for the 1990 season. He remained with the Swallows through 1998, winning four Central League pennants and three Nippon Series championships. This is 1993 Tomy card #286:

He was let go by the Swallows following the 1998 season and hooked up with the Hanshin Tigers the following year. He remained manager of the Tigers through 2001, when his wife's tax evasion scandal became public and Hanshin let him go. This is his 2001 Upper Deck card (#102):

Following his depature from Hanshin, he managed an industrial league team for a few years. After the 2005 season, he was named the manager of Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a position that he still holds. Here's his 2006 BBM Rookie Edition card (#133):

The card at the top of the post is #825 from the 2002 BBM 2nd Version set.

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