Hiroshi Arakawa

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Hiroshi Arakawa (荒川 博)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Hiroshi Arakawa played, coached and managed in Nippon Pro Baseball. His adopted son Takashi Arakawa also played in NPB.

Arakawa debuted with the Mainichi Orions in 1953, hitting .315/.381/.410 in 99 games. He tied for 8th in the Pacific League with six triples; had he qualified, he would have been second in the league in average, .003 behind Isami Okamoto. He made his only PL All-Star team and started all three All-Star Games in right field, with Kaoru Betto in center and Hiroshi Oshita in left. He went 0 for 1 in each game. He batted .270/.341/.366 with 21 doubles in 1954 and a nearly-identical .265/.343/.356 with 21 doubles in 1955.

The Tokyo native slumped to .210/.313/.273 in 1956 with only 27 runs and 35 RBI in 122 games. He fell to the #4 outfielder role in 1957, hitting .249/.328/.321 in 95 games. He produced at a .237/.293/.351 clip in 1958 then only .218/.316/.267 in 117 plate appearances and 75 games in 1959. He only played five games in the field in his final two seasons, used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter with little success: 3 for 31 with a double, homer and four walks in 1960 and 7 for 39 with two doubles and five walks in 1961.

He wrapped up his career with a .251/.329/.338 batting line, 207 runs and 172 RBI in 2,773 plate appearances over 802 games.

After retiring as a player, he was a hitting coach for the Yomiuri Giants from 1962 to 1970. While there, he helped Sadaharu Oh compensate for a hitch in his stroke by teaching him the flamingo batting style Oh would become famous for. In 1965, was involved in a major brawl. After Gene Bacque twice knocked Oh to the ground, Arakawa wound up getting hit by Bacque with a punch so hard that Bacque's knuckle was permanently embedded with the outline of Arakawa's forehead. Bacque broke a thumb in the melee and missed the remainder of the year.

Arakawa later managed the Yakult Swallows, for whom his son was a player. His clubs went 60-63-7 to finish third in 1974 and 57-64-9 to finish fourth in 1975. After a 10-15-4 start to 1976, he was canned in favor of Tatsuro Hirooka. He later was a commentator for Fuji Television. He made the Expert Ballot for the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time in the 2014 election.

Primary Sources[edit]