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Miyoshi Nakagawa

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Miyoshi Nakagawa (Tako no Nakagawa [Octopus Nakagawa])

Miyoshi Nakagawa began his professional baseball career after leaving college at age 17 when he joined the Eagles in the fall of 1937, going 13-5 with a 2.05 ERA, third in the Japanese Professional Baseball League behind Yukio Nishimura and Victor Starfin. He hit .248/.335/.317 as a first baseman. His defense at first base would be legendary and fans came to see "the tentacles of the octopus" with his fantastic reach and range.

Nakagawa was 3-1, 1.76 in the summer of 1938 and hit .270/.377/.320. He slipped to .159/.231/.168 in the fall season and was 5-2, 1.98 on the mound, third in the league in ERA behind Starfin and Shigeru Mizuhara. Miyoshi was 6-6, 1.64 in 1939 and would have ranked fourth in ERA had he been among the qualifiers. He was 8th in the league in batting average with a season of .282/.323/.320.

In 1940, Nakagawa hit .229/.286/.283 and went 7-15, 3.22 as the 20-year-old player struggled on both ends. The next year, his batting line was .236/.277/.256 and his pitching line read 7-9, 2.31.

Nakagawa's career statistics were 41-38, 2.32 and .242/.302/.279. He joined the military after the 1941 season and was killed in the Battle of Luzon in the Philippines three years later. 42 years later, the defensive wizard was elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Primary source: Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland

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