Kengo Kuroda

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Kengo Kuroda (黒田 健吾)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Infielder Kengo Kuroda played in Nippon Professional Baseball for Hankyu (1936-1942) and Nagoya (1936).

With the Nagoya Golden Dolphins in the spring of 1936 (the first season of the Japanese Professional Baseball League), the 28-year-old hit .250/.339/.269 in limited time. Moving to Hankyu for the fall campaign due to conflict with Nagoya, he struggled at .131/.240/.131. In the spring of 1937, he produced at a .250/.353/.287 clip. He batted .244/.318/.308 in the fall season. His 49 hits tied Yukio Eguchi for 10th in the JPBL and his nine sacrifice hits tied for second, one behind Toichi Yanagisawa. Playing both short and third regularly to that point, he spent the remainder of his career as a starter at third.

Kuroda hit .232/.346/.362 in the spring campaign of 1938, finishing among the league leaders in runs (21, tied for 7th), doubles (6, tied for 6th), home runs (4, 4th, two shy of Bucky Harris), RBI (20, tied for 6th with Fumio Fujimura and Kano Omoda) and walks (24, 9th). In the fall season, he had his best campaign: .280/.335/.417. He tied Shigeru Chiba and Michinori Tsubouchi for 4th in runs (29), was 3rd in hits (47, behind Haruyasu Nakajima and Harris), tied Kentaro Ito and Kenjiro Matsuki for 4th in home runs (4), tied Masayoshi Ishida and Masanobu Yamaguchi for 4th in steals (12), was 7th in average (between Kaichi Masu and Matsuki) and was 4th in OBP (between Ito and Chujiro Endo).

The Okayama native slumped to .218/.319/.271 in 1939. He hit .214/.308/.247 in 1940 and was on the leaderboard in steals (21, tied for 10th with Jiro Iwagaki and Kikuji Hirayama), hit-by-pitch (5, tied for 2nd, one behind Masu) and sacrifice flies (5, tied for first). He also pitched three hitless, scoreless innings that year, though he walked three. The Hankyu veteran's batting line in 1941 was .198/.323/.248 but he still was among the league leaders in runs (34, tied for 8th with Yoshiyuki Iwamoto and Masaki Yoshiwara), home runs (3, tied for 6th), steals (15, tied for 7th with Chiba and Den Yamada) and walks (55, tied for 8th with Katsumi Shiraishi). In a low-scoring league, his 571 OPS was above the mean of 547.

He wrapped up his pro career by batting .213/.338/.260 with 72 walks in 105 games in 1942, tying for 8th in hits (83), tied Nakajima for 4th in doubles (15), placing 4th in RBI (42, between Seizo Furukawa and Koichi Yamashita), was 7th in steals (23 in 25), was 4th in walks (between Shosei Go and Iwamoto) and was 8th in OBP.

He hit .222/.324/.278 with 15 home runs, 218 RBI, 114 stolen bases, 318 walks and only 160 strikeouts for his career. After World War II, he did not return to pro ball, instead playing in the industrial leagues.