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Shozo Doi

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Shozo Doi

Note: This page links to Shozo Doi, the Yomiuri Giants infielder and Orix BlueWave manager. For an infielder from 1939-40 with the same name, click here.
  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 136 lb.

Shozo Doi was a two-time Best Nine second baseman who was a member of the famous V-9 Yomiuri Giants who won nine consecutive Japan Series from 1965-1973. Doi later would serve as manager of the Orix BlueWave, where he became infamous for his refusal to play a youngster named Ichiro Suzuki, convinced that Suzuki would not succeed.

Doi joined Yomiuri in 1965 and hit .249/.305/.279, stealing 15 in 20 tries and producing only 44 runs and six extra-base hits in 115 games. He was 3 for 11 in the 1965 Japan Series with 3 RBI as Yomiuri began the greatest dynasty in Nippon Pro Baseball history. In 1966, Shozo batted .245/.299/.310 but was only 14 for 26 in steals. He fielded .986 as a 2B-SS and his 25 sacrifice hits led the Central League. In the 1966 Japan Series, he put on a fine show, going 10 for 25 with three steals in three tries and five runs in six games. In 1967, the 24/25-year-old infielder had a .289/.345/.410 batting line with 19 SB (in 27 tries) and a career-high 9 homers and 71 runs scored; he also had his best slugging and OBP years. He made the first of four Central League All-Star appearances. He hit only .150/.190/.200 in the 1967 Japan Series.

Doi batted .293/.334/.373 in 1968, setting a career high in average and steals (21 for 25). He was sixth in the Central League in average, made his first Best Nine and his second All-Star team. He hit .320/.320/.360 in the 1968 Japan Series, was two for two in steals and produced 7 runs. In '69, Shozo hit .270/.331/.354 and made his second Best Nine and third All-Star team. His 19 sacrifice bunts led the CL. He hit .240/.240/.280 in the 1969 Japan Series and again was 2-2 in steal attempts.

In 1970, Doi hit .251/.293/.325 and was 5 for 20 with a steal in the 1970 Japan Series. The next season, his batting line was .222/.301/.333 and he had his last season with double-digit steals (14 in 20 tries). He led the CL with five triples. He was 1 for 14 with a steal in the 1971 Japan Series. The 1972 season was the third time he led in sacrifice hits (19) and he hit .270/.341/.366 in one of his better offensive years. He hit .200/.278/.267 in the 1972 Japan Series. He made his fourth and last All-Star team in 1973 and batted .261/.331/.354 with only one steal in six tries. In the 1973 Japan Series, he hit .250/.348/.450 and, in game one, did something he hadn't done in the 8 preceding Series victories - go deep.

Doi moved to a bench role the year that Yomiuri didn't make it to the Series. Doi only hit .186/232/.228 in '74; returning to regular action in 1975 and batted .264/.285/.347 with a CL-leading 25 sacrifice hits. He produced at a .251/.287/.351 clip in 1976 as the Giants won the Central League pennant. In the 1976 Japan Series, Shozo was on the losing side for the first time in 10 Series appearances. Splitting second base duties with Davey Johnson, Doi hit .267/.313/.467 on the Series, outperforming 0-for-13 Johnson.

Doi set career highs in doubles (19) and RBI (49) in 1977 at age 34/35, batting .260/.286/.395 with the second-best slugging percentage of his career. He hit .318/.318/.409 in his final Japan Series but Yomiuri lost again. He wrapped things up in 1978 by winning his only Diamond Glove Award, leading the league in sacrifice hits for a fifth time (with 27 that year) and batting .285/.336/.351 in a good last season.

Overall, Shozo Doi had a .263/.314/.349 batting line in his career. Through 2006, he ranks 11th all-time in Nippon Pro Baseball in sacrifice hits (242).

Doi became a coach with Yomiuri after retirement. He was hired to manage the Orix BlueWave in 1991 and they finished third at 64-63-3; it was a 5 1/2 game decline from what the Orix Braves had done a year earlier. Shozo ran into conflict with Boomer Wells, as Doi did not feel a foreigner should be seen as the club leader, bumping Wells down in the batting order.

In 1992, Orix remained third with a 61-64-5 record. Ichiro Suzuki, who had led ni-gun in hitting, did okay in limited duty, but Doi returned him to the farm early in 1993, saying that Ichiro had "come too fast too far...a player has to know hardship if he's going to reach his full potential." Doi cited former teammate Sadaharu Oh as an example of this. Doi also criticized Suzuki's batting stance and said he would never succeed.

Ichiro was called back to Orix during the 1993 season but struggled to perform while incorporating Doi's suggested batting stance changes. Suzuki requested a return to the minors to return to his old batting form. Doi agreed to send him back down. Orix finished 70-56-4 for another third-place spot, giving Doi a 195-183-12 managerial record. Doi was forced to resign by administration and Akira Ohgi was brought aboard - under Ohgi, Suzuki became a star and Orix won two Pacific League pennants in the next three years. Doi would return to Yomiuri as a coach.

Doi had surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2007 and died two years later.

Sources: The Meaning of Ichiro by Robert Whiting, Remembering Japanese Baseball by Rob Fitts, Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland, Article on Doi's death

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