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Yasuya Hondo

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Yasuya Hondo

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[edit] Biographical Information

Playing every position except pitcher during his career, Yasuya Hondo began with the Osaka Tigers in 1937, hitting .193 with no homers but an OBP around .300. He improved to .248/.390/.369 in the 1938 spring season and then batted .276/.351/.379 in the fall. In 1939, Hondo hit .260/.309/.394 then was at .243/.314/.358 in 1940 with a Japan Baseball League-leading 26 doubles.

He was drafted into the Japanese military and missed the 1941-43 seasons, serving his country during World War II. He returned to play in 1944 and hit .269/.336/.387. The '45 season was cancelled due to the war and in '46 Yasuya batted .297/.365/.419, 10th in the league in average. In 1947 the 29-year-old player hit .283/.333/.364 and was seventh in batting average. 1948 saw Hondo set a record with three steals in one inning. Now with the Taiyo Robins, he slipped to .246/.279/.348.

Back with the Tigers for '49, Yasuya put up a .302/.335/.429 season. Moving to the Mainichi Orions in 1950, Hondo hit .306/.346/.434 and set career highs in runs (73), hits (143), RBI (84), homers (12), average and slugging. He was 7th in the new Pacific League in average and made the Best Nine at second base (it was the first year for the Best Nines). In '51, Hondo slipped to .231/.284/.298. He hit .270/.356/.372 in 1952 and made the PL All-Star team. He was again an All-Star in 1953 as the 35-year-old veteran still batted .264/.321/.383.

In 1954 Yasuya slipped to .189/.263/.250, then followed that the next few years with .212/.255/.250, .269/.342/.284 in part time and 0 for 2 in 1957 to finish his career. Overall, he had hit .261/.323/.361 in his playing career in Nippon Pro Baseball.

After retiring, Hondo became a coach for the Daimai Orions. Elevated to the managerial job in 1963, he led the team to a 198-222-10 record over three seasons in charge (in '64 they became the Tokyo Orions). They finished fourth or fifth in the six-team league each season and Hondo was replaced at the helm by Hitoshi Tamaru. He then became a scout for the Kintetsu Buffaloes.

Source: japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland

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