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Hiroshi Arakawa

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Hiroshi Arakawa (荒川 博)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Hiroshi Arakawa played, coached and managed in Nippon Pro Baseball. His adopted son Takashi Arakawa also played in NPB.

Arakawa debuted with the Mainichi Orions in 1953, hitting .315/.381/.410 in 99 games. He tied for 8th in the Pacific League with six triples; had he qualified, he would have been second in the league in average, .003 behind Isami Okamoto. He made his only PL All-Star team and started all three All-Star Games in right field, with Kaoru Betto in center and Hiroshi Oshita in left. He went 0 for 1 in each game. He batted .270/.341/.366 with 21 doubles in 1954 and a nearly-identical .265/.343/.356 with 21 doubles in 1955.

The Tokyo native slumped to .210/.313/.273 in 1956 with only 27 runs and 35 RBI in 122 games. He fell to the #4 outfielder role in 1957, hitting .249/.328/.321 in 95 games. He produced at a .237/.293/.351 clip in 1958 then only .218/.316/.267 in 117 plate appearances and 75 games in 1959. He only played five games in the field in his final two seasons, used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter with little success: 3 for 31 with a double, homer and four walks in 1960 and 7 for 39 with two doubles and five walks in 1961.

He wrapped up his career with a .251/.329/.338 batting line, 207 runs and 172 RBI in 2,773 plate appearances over 802 games.

After retiring as a player, he was a hitting coach for the Yomiuri Giants from 1962 to 1970. While there, he helped Sadaharu Oh compensate for a hitch in his stroke by teaching him the flamingo batting style Oh would become famous for. In 1965, was involved in a major brawl. After Gene Bacque twice knocked Oh to the ground, Arakawa wound up getting hit by Bacque with a punch so hard that Bacque's knuckle was permanently embedded with the outline of Arakawa's forehead. Bacque broke a thumb in the melee and missed the remainder of the year.

Arakawa later managed the Yakult Swallows, for whom his son was a player. His clubs went 60-63-7 to finish third in 1974 and 57-64-9 to finish fourth in 1975. After a 10-15-4 start to 1976, he was canned in favor of Tatsuro Hirooka. He later was a commentator for Fuji Television. He made the Expert Ballot for the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time in the 2014 election.

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