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Kiyoshi Nakahata

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Kiyoshi Nakahata

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[edit] Biographical Information

Kiyoshi Nakahata played 13 seasons for the Yomiuri Giants and made six All-Star teams.

Nakahata was MVP of the Tokyo Metropolitan University League's fall season as a sophomore. He hit .350 in college and was picked in the 3rd round by Yomiuri in 1975. He debuted in Nippon Pro Baseball in 1977, going 2 for 5. In 1978, he went deep off Mario Soto in an exhibition game. He was 1 for 3 that year for Yomiuri.

Becoming a starter in 1979, Nakahata batted .294/.312/.474. He hit .268/.315/.453 in 1980, socking 22 home runs. Kiyoshi moved from third base to first base in 1981 to replace the retiring Sadaharu Oh; he hit .322/.352/.512 with 16 homers, no Oh but certainly acceptable. He made the Central League All-Star team. He was 7th in the CL in average, between Koji Yamamoto and Jim Lyttle. It would be his best season in average but not in OPS. He hit .250/.333/.375 in the 1981 Japan Series to help Yomiuri take the title.

Nakahata fell to .267/.322/.500 in 1982 with 25 home runs. He was an All-Star again and won the first of several Gold Gloves at first base. He batted .300/.333/.466 in 1983 with 15 homers and 13 steals in 14 tries. He made his third All-Star team and won his second Gold Glove. He hit .259/.333/.444 in the 1983 Japan Series, which Yomiuri dropped to the Seibu Lions in seven games.

Kiyoshi hit .294/.364/.548 with a career-high 31 home runs, 78 runs and 83 RBI in 1984. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner. He was six homers behind CL co-leaders Masaru Uno and Masayuki Kakefu.

Nakahata's batting line read .294/.334/.478 with 18 home runs and a career-high 32 doubles in 1985. He was two doubles behind leader Warren Cromartie. He was an All-Star for the 5th time and Gold Glove winner for a 4th time.

He became the first head of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association in 1985 and held that role for four years until succeeded by Tatsunori Hara.

The Fukushima native hit .273/.313/.441 in 1986 and won his fifth straight Gold Glove. He batted .321/.367/.437 with just 6 homers in 1987 while taking another Gold Glove. He was sixth in the CL in average. He was just 3 for 20 with 2 walks and a homer in the 1987 Japan Series, as Seibu beat the Giants again.

In 1988, Nakahata hit .295/.338/.453 with 36 doubles, most in the league. He also led the league by grounding into 18 double plays. He made his sixth and last All-Star team and won his 7th Gold Glove in a row.

Nakahata batted .221/.302/.327 in 49 games in 1989. He was 1 for 5 in the 1989 Japan Series, won by Yomiuri over the Kintetsu Buffaloes. In game 7, the last of his career, he went deep in the crucial 8-5 win.

Overall, Nakahata hit .290/.334/.474 with 250 doubles and 171 home runs in 1,248 career games in NPB.

Nakahata later was a baseball commentator on NTV. He coached for the Giants. When Shigeo Nagashima (Nakahata's former skipper) had a stroke prior to the 2004 Olympics, Kiyoshi took over the helm of the Japanese national team and led them to a Bronze Medal.

As a member of the Sunrise Party, he ran for office for 2010. He became manager of the Yokohama BayStars for 2012.

Primary Source: Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland

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