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Akihito Kondo

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Akihito Kondo

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 143 lb.

Akihito Kondo played 14 years for the Taiyo Whales in Nippon Pro Baseball and later coached and managed.

Kondo debuted as a pro in 1960 and hit .226/.272/.326 with 17 steals in 24 tries. The second baseman was 3 for 15 with two walks and a homer in the 1960 Japan Series but got the winning hits in game 3 and game four as Taiyo swept the Daimai Orions to be named Japan Series MVP. It was the only title in Taiyo history.

In 1961, Kondo batted .225/.285/.307 and stole 15 bases but was thrown out running 13 times. He hit .240/.289/.342 with 7 triples in 1962 and made the Central League All-Star team. He led the CL with 15 sacrifice hits. He fell to .159/.235/.208 in 1963 with 31 runs produced in 115 games; he paced the CL with 16 sac bunts. In 1964, Kondo's batting line was .266/.295/.337. He was 20-for-24 in steal attempts and led the league with 32 sacrifice hits.

Kondo batted .285/.318/.382 in a career-best 1965, again being named an All-Star. He stole 25 bases in 32 tries and laid down 41 sacrifice hits, leading the league. He was 7th in the CL in average. In 1966, he faded to .252/.278/.373. He batted .249/.282/.354 in 1967 and fell to under 50 percent in steal rate (8 for 17).

In 1968, Kondo hit .258/.304/.367. His batting line was .252/.313/.354 in 1969, .258/.298/.347 in 1970 and .218/.284/.298 in 1971.

Falling into a backup role, Kondo batted .234/.332/.291 in 81 games in 1972 and .200/.250/.200 in 32 in 1973 to end his career.

Overall, Akihito played 1,619 games in NPB and hit .243/.292/.335 with 473 runs, 360 RBI and 148 steals in 234 tries.

Kondo later coached for the Seibu Lions, Yakult Swallows and Yomiuri Giants after his playing career ended. While coaching for the Lions, he joined with Masahiko Mori, another coach, in subverting a third coach, Wally Yonamine, ignoring him and bypassing him, leading to Yonamine's leaving Seibu after the '84 campaign. He became manager of the Yokohama BayStars in 1993 and guided them to a 57-73 record and fifth-place finish. They were 61-69 in 1994 but finished 6th in one of the closest CL seasons ever. Despite improving to 66-64 and 4th place in 1995, Kondo was canned in favor of Akihiko Oya.

Kondo was named manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1997, replacing Akira Ejiri. They went 57-76-2 that year and 61-71-3 in 1998, finishing last both times. Overall, he was 302-353-5 as a manager.

Sources: Japanbaseballdaily.com, Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball by Robert Fitts

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