Kazuo Kageyama

From BR Bullpen

Kazuo Kageyama

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 5", Weight 140 lb.

Kazuo Kageyama was an infielder for the Nankai Hawks for 10 years. He was the third baseman on the Million Dollar Infield, joining 1B Tokuji Iida, 2B Kazuto Tsuruoka and SS Chusuke Kizuka.

Kageyama hit .287/.373/.458 with 15 triples and 25 steals (in 31 tries) as a rookie for Nankai in 1950, winning the Pacific League Rookie of the Year award. He led the league in triples. Number 12 put up a .315/.403/.451 line with 13 triples, 97 runs and 42 swipes (in 51 attempts) in 1951. On September 28, he set a PL record with 17 total bases in a game and tied the Nippon Pro Baseball record with three triples. He tripled in three straight at-bats from the 28th to September 29, a NPB record. He made the PL All-Star team, finished second to Hiroshi Oshita in average, led in runs, led in walks and led in triples. He was named to the PL's Best Nine at the hot corner. He was 4 for 18 with two walks and a triple in the 1951 Japan Series, which Nankai lost to the Yomiuri Giants. In game six, he was trying to tag out Wally Yonamine at third when Yonamine slid in and kicked the ball out his glove - Hirofumi Naito said it was the first time Japanese players had seen such aggressive baserunning.

Kageyama fell to .256/.359/.414 with 10 triples, 86 runs and 36 steals (in 48 tries) in 1952 and was again an All-Star and Best Nine pick. He tied Kaoru Betto for the most triples in the PL and led with 73 whiffs. He was 5 for 19 with five walks and five runs in the 1952 Japan Series as Nankai again lost to the Giants.

The Waseda alumnus rebounded to .303/.404/.434 with 36 swipes in 48 tries, 70 walks and 86 runs in 1953. He was 5th in average behind Isami Okamoto, Futoshi Nakanishi, Kazuo Horii and Oshita and led in walks. He was six runs behind co-leaders Larry Raines and Nakanishi. He lost Best Nine honors to Nakanishi, who would establish himself as the top third baseman in the league. In the 1953 Japan Series, he hit just .172/.226/.207 with one run and no RBI in seven games as Nankai lost a third straight Japan Series to Yomiuri.

In 1954, Kageyama made his final All-Star team, hitting .263/.360/.398 with 74 walks and 12 triples. He tripled in three straight games, September 29 to October 2, a NPB record. He was six walks behind leader Kazuhiro Yamauchi and led in triples, his last time pacing the PL in any department. He struggled at .230/.359/.328 with no triples in 1955. In the 1955 Japan Series, he was 0 for 3 with a walk and two runs while backing up Nobuyasu Morishita. Nankai lost to Yomiuri for the fourth time in five years.

He hit .234/.343/.366 in 1956, .221/.336/.314 in 1957 and .224/.340/.291 in 1958. He was a bench player in 1959, his last season, hitting .221/.329/.221 in 80 plate appearances. During the 1959 Japan Series, he did not play as Morishita manned third full-time and Nankai finally beat Yomiuri for its first title.

Kageyama's career batting line was .264/.367/.391 with 214 steals in 289 tries, 535 walks and 66 triples in 1,044 games. Through 2010, he was tied for 12th in career triples (with Oshita and Arihito Muramatsu).

Kageyama was interim manager for Nankai in 1962, going 34-18-2 in place of Tsuruoka and moving the team up from 5th to 2nd in his tenure. He replaced Tsuruoka as manager after the 1965 season but died a week later and Tsuruoka returned to the helm.

Sources: Japanball.com, Remembering Japanese Baseball by Robert Fitts