Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Senichi Hoshino

Senichi Hoshino managed his last game for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles yesterday, falling to the Buffaloes in ten innings 3-2.  At age 67 and having suffered severe back problems this season, it's pretty much assumed that he is retiring for good now.

Hoshino pitched for Meiji University in the mid-1960's before being drafted in the first round of the fall 1968 draft by the Chunichi Dragon.  He was a star pitcher for the Dragons during the 1970's, compiling a career 146-121 record from 1969 to 1982.

1975/76 Calbee #293

1979 Calbee "Basic Series" #20

His first managerial job was with the Dragons in 1987 where he lead the team to a second place finish after two consecutive fifth place finishes under Kazuhiro Yamauchi and Morimichi Takagi.  The Dragons bettered that in his second season, going all the way to the Nippon Series before losing to the Seibu Lions in five games.  Hoshino was let go by the Dragons after the 1991 season but they brought him back again after four more seasons of Takagi in 1996.  He won the Central League again in 1999 but the Dragons again lost in five games in the Nippon Series, this time to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.  The Dragons let him go as manager again after the 2001 season.

1998 BBM #518
The Tigers immediately hired him as manager for the 2002 season.  The Tigers were coming off of four consecutive last place finishes but Hoshino lead them to a fourth place finish in 2002 and surprised everyone with a Central League pennant in 2003.  Hoshino and the Tigers lost in the Nippon Series to the Hawks (again) in seven games.  Hoshino stepped down after the season due to health issues (high blood pressure and heart arrhythmia) although he remained in the Hanshin front office until 2010.

2002 BBM 2nd Version #805
His next managerial job was with the Japanese National Team.  He took over the team for the 2007 Asian Baseball Championship.  By winning the Championship, Japan qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  Hoshino managed the Olympic team as well, but despite having an all star roster of NPB players, the team failed to medal at the games.

2008 BBM Japan National Team #JPN01
Hoshino returned to the managerial ranks with the Eagles in 2011.  He finished in the second division three times in his four seasons in Sendai but the one year he didn't was a doozy.  In 2013 Hoshino lead a team to the Nippon Series for the fourth time, but this time his team was victorious, defeating the Giants in seven games.

2013 BBM 1st Version #244
Having won pennants with the Dragons (twice), the Tigers and the Eagles, Hoshino tied Osamu Mihara and Yukio Nishimoto for winning a pennant with most different teams.  Mihara won pennants with the Giants, Lions and Whales while Nishimoto won pennants with the Orions, Braves and Buffaloes.

2006 BBM Dragons 70th Anniversary #06

2005 BBM Tigers 70th Anniversary #07

2014 Calbee #LC-1

1 comment:

Sean said...

It really is the end of an era with Hoshino retiring. It was really thrilling to see him lead the Eagles past the Giants last year, probably one of the most memorable moments NPB has had in recent years, at least for us anti-Giants fans!

I`ve often wondered if he was the basis for the manager character played by Ken Takakura in Mr. Baseball...