- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 167 lb.
- High School Shutoku High School
Fumio Narita was a four-time 20-game winner in Nippon Pro Baseball.
1965-1970: A great start
Narita debuted with the Tokyo Orions in 1965 and allowed 4 hits and 2 runs in 2 innings. At age 20 the next year, he had a 8-7, 3.17 record and made the first of eight consecutive Pacific League All-Star teams. In 1967, Narita went 14-16 with a 2.11 ERA and 208 hits allowed in 272 2/3 innings. He finished third in the Pacific League in ERA that season. In 1968, the young right-hander had a 20-11, 2.90 line and threw 306 2/3 innings. He was 10th in the PL in ERA in that low-scoring era. In '69, Narita was 22-13 with a 2.73 ERA and allowed the most hits (276 in 317 innings) and runs (115) in the league and also threw the most shutouts (9). On August 16, he threw a no-hitter, the only one of his career.
At age 23, the Orions hurler was 25-8 with a 3.21 ERA and a career-high 195 strikeouts (in 277 2/3 IP). He was 9th in the league in ERA but led the circuit in wins. In the 1970 Japan Series, he was 0-1 with a 11.81 ERA.
1971-1972: Scandal and struggles
In 1971 in Japanese Baseball, he was suspended for a month due to his dealing with bookies in the Black Mist Scandal and went 11-9 with a 4.29 ERA in a bad year. Narita continued to struggle in 1972 (11-14, 4.42, a league-high 37 home runs allowed). He did make history that year by becoming the first NPB pitcher to hit two grand slams in his career, having hit one on May 30, 1971 and adding the second on June 9 of this year. A fair hitter, Fumio played 37 games in the field or as a pinch-hitter during his career, batting .196/.234/.303 with 15 HR but 208 K in 700 AB. As the DH was introduced in the PL in 1975, he never got a chance to bat in his last seven seasons. From 1966-1974, he had homered at least once every year except 1967 and he slugged .500 in 1971.
1973-1976: A return to efficacy
In 1973, Narita bounced back with a 21-10, 2.63 season in which he threw 273 2/3 innings in 52 games. He led the PL in innings pitched, wins, complete games (16), shutouts (7) and strikeouts (178). He won his only Diamond Glove Award and made his only Best Nine. He made his 8th and last All-Star team and would never lead the league in anything again.
Narita still had three more good years after that. He went 9-10 with three saves and a 3.29 ERA in 1974. In the 1974 Japan Series, he was 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA but the Orions still won in six. In 1975, Fumio had a 15-9, 3.33 record, followed by a 10-10, 3.42 year with one save.
1977-1982: The end
Rarely used as a starter after that, Narita faded to 1-2, 1 Sv, 5.44 in 1977 and then 2-2, 4.11 in '78. After a year with no appearances in NPB, he moved to the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1980 and was 2-4 with three saves and a 2.48 ERA. In 1981, Narita had a 4-4 record and 2.47 ERA. In the 1981 Japan Series, he retired only two of four batters, allowing one home run and picking up the loss in game four as Nippon Ham dropped the Series. Narita's last year saw him allow 8 runs and 10 hits in 2 1/3 innings at age 35.
After retiring, Narita worked for a construction company, in the advertising department, then became an assistant pro at a golf plaza.