Kunio Jonouchi

From BR Bullpen

Kunio Jonouchi

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 173 lb.

Kunio Jonouchi won over 100 games in Nippon Pro Baseball and was a three-time All-Star.

Jonouchi played for Nihon Beer in the industrial leagues after high school. Signing with the Yomiuri Giants, he had one heck of a rookie year, going 24-12 with a 2.21 ERA and .207 opponent average in 280 2/3 IP. He finished 8th in the Central League in ERA, possibly as high as 5th in wins and won the Rookie of the Year Award for his efforts. Number 15 fell to 17-14, 2.69 in 1963, when he made his first All-Star squad, but improved to 7th in ERA. In the 1963 Japan Series, he allowed four hits, two walks and two runs (one earned) in three innings in game two before an early hook; at the plate, he hit a 2-run double in his only at-bat and scored. Yomiuri won the Series in 7 games over the Nishitetsu Lions.

Jonouchi had poor luck in 1964 as he was 18-16 despite a 2.23 ERA. He walked only 39 in 262 innings. He finished second to Gene Bacque in ERA. In 1965, he had a 21-12, 2.44 record and 1.00 WHIP. He was 11th in ERA and made his second All-Star team. He squared off against Joe Stanka in games 2 and 5 of the 1965 Japan Series and got a 3.00 ERA and two no-decisions. Barely a .100 hitter in the regular season for his career, he again hit well in the Series, doubling and scoring a run in three at-bats. Yomiuri won, the first of their record nine straight Japan Series titles.

Kunio went 21-8 with a 2.01 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 1966 and became the 39th Nippon Pro Baseball hurler to win 100 games. He allowed 231 hits, most in the CL, despite a .223 opponent average, thanks to his heavy workload (282 IP, eight shy of leader Minoru Murayama). He was three wins behind pacesetter Murayama and ranked 4th in ERA behind Tsuneo Horiuchi, Murayama and Tomoo Wako. In the 1966 Japan Series, he beat Nankai's Taisuke Watanabe in both games one and three and lost game five in relief of Minoru Nakamura. He was 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA on the Series and also went 1 for 7 with a double, run and a RBI.

The Chiba native put up a 17-8, 2.58 record and 1.00 WHIP in 1967, finishing 8th in ERA and making his last All-Star squad. He went 2-0 with a 3.09 ERA in the 1967 Japan Series, winning games 3 and 6 (the clincher). He went 2 for 6 at the plate. In 1968, the 28-year-old had double-digit wins for the last time at 11-7, 3.06. On May 16, he tossed a no-hitter against the Taiyo Whales. He was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA against the Hankyu Braves in the 1968 Japan Series, beating Mitsuhiro Adachi in a 6-1 complete game decision in game 2 and getting a no-decision in game five.

Jonouchi's slide got worse as he was just 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 1969. In the 1969 Japan Series, he allowed one run in two relief innings as the Giants again beat Hankyu. He rebounded to 7-6, 2.97 in 1970 but did not pitch in the 1970 Japan Series, then allowed five runs in nine innings in 1971 (1-0). After two years away from NPB, he gave up five runs in 11 innings for the 1974 Lotte Orions.

Jonouchi finished his career with a 141-88, 2.57 record and 1.04 WHIP. He later was a coach for Yomiuri and a scout for Yomiuri and Lotte. Had he pitched 22 1/3 more innings without his ERA changing, he would have ranked 18th in NPB history (through 2010) in ERA for hurlers with 2,000+ innings.

Source: Japan Baseball Daily