Monday, June 26, 2017

RIP Tamotsu Nagai

Former Carp, Lions, Whales and Hawks pitcher Tamotsu Nagai passed away last week from liver cancer.  He was 63 years old.  Nagai was drafted out of high school by the Carp in the 3rd round of the fall 1971 draft but he only spent two years with Hiroshima.  He was traded to the Lions for Toshiyoshi Norikae during the 1973-74 offseason.  Nagai worked mainly out of the bullpen and by 1976 had established himself as the Lions workhorse in that role .  He lead the Pacific League in appearances four times - 1979-81 and 1984.  He made the All Star team in 1977 and 1981.  He pitched in four Nippon Series, being part of the winning team in 1982-83 and 1986 and on the losing side in 1985.  After the 1986 Series he was traded for a second time along with Shinsaku Katahira to the Yokohama Taiyo Whales for Shintaro Hirose.  He spent two seasons in Yokohama before being released.  He spent his final two seasons with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, retiring after the 1990 season.  He coached for the China Times Eagles in the CPBL in their inaugural season of 1993.

One of the tidbits of trivia I picked up while researching this was that Nagai was that he apparently was somehow an inspiration for the song "Southpaw" by Pink Lady (or maybe just his pitching motion was an inspiration for the choreography).  Through the wonder of YouTube, here's Pink Lady performing the song - Nagai does not appear in this video however:

Nagai had a number of baseball cards during his career from Yamakatsu, Calbee and Takara.  He's appeared in a number of the OB Lions sets over the last 10 years or so.

1978 Yamakatsu JY6

1982 Takara Lions #31

1988 Takara Whales #13

1990 Takara Hawks #31

2010 BBM Lions 60th Anniversary #68

No comments: