Haruyasu Nakajima

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HarayasuNakajima.jpg

Haruyasu Nakajima

Biographical Information[edit]

Haruyasu Nakajima is a member of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Nakajima helped his school win the Koshien Tournament in 1928. He then played for Fujikura Densen in the industrial leagues. When the Japanese Professional Baseball League was formed in 1936, Haruyasu was a member of the Tokyo Giants. A 1B-RF, he hit .290/.313/.484 in the spring season and .257/.325/.386 in the fall campaign. On July 15, he went deep off Tadashi Wakabayashi for the first homer in what would become a storied history for the Giants.

Haruyasu hit .285/.363/.430 while leading the league in home runs in the spring of 1937 and .295/.331/.446 with 37 RBI in 40 games in the fall campaign. Nakajima batted .345/.395/.428 in the spring of '38 and .361/.477/.626 with 10 homers and 38 RBI in 38 games in the fall. In the spring season, he led the league in average and hits. In the fall, he led in slugging, average, hits, RBI and home runs and was named MVP. He won the first Triple Crown in league history.

Nakajima batted .278/.322/.419 in 1939 and led the league with 22 doubles. In 1940, he hit .264/.319/.383 and paced the circuit with 67 RBI. He made the Best Nine outfield, the only time that award was given out in the first decade of his career.

Haruyasu's batting line in 1941 was .255/.324/.343. At age 31/32 in 1942, he hit .261/.317/.364 and led the league in hits (111), RBI (60) and total bases (155).

In 1943, he became the Giants' player-manager, replacing Sadayoshi Fujimoto at the helm. He led them to the pennant while struggling at the plate (.199/.264/.276 in his dual role). He missed 1944 and 1945.

Nakajima returned to the field in 1946 and batted .272/.316/.350. The next year, the veteran fell to .197/.242/.248. He improved to .243/.268/.388 in 1948, a shadow of his former self still. He was just 7 for 40 with a double, homer and 3 walks in 1949.

Finally switching teams, he moved on to the Taiyo Whales in 1950 and hit .319/.333/.574 in 15 games. He wrapped up with a strong .357/.394/.561 batting line in 28 games in 1951 as a player-manager.

Overall, Nakajima had batted .270/.324/.393 in 871 games in a pitcher's era. As a manager, he was 169-127-6. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963.

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