Masaaki Ikenaga

From BR Bullpen

Masaaki Ikenaga

BR minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Masaaki Ikenaga was one of the top pitchers in Nippon Pro Baseball before a scandal derailed his career. Ikenaga's high school club won the spring Koshien Tournament in 1963. In 1965 Ikenaga joined the Nishitetsu Lions and was named the Rookie of the Year in the Pacific League after a 20-10, 2.27 debut season. Ikenaga made the All-Star team and was fifth in the PL in ERA. He remained an All-Star in 1966 when he posted a 15-14 record with a 2.18 ERA, again fifth in the PL. He won 1966 NPB All-Star Game 2 at age 19, the youngest starter to win a NPB All-Star Game (through 2016).

In 1967 Ikenaga went 23-14 with a 2.31 ERA. He led the Pacific in innings (335 1/3), wins, complete games (19), shutouts (6) and hits allowed (300) in his most productive season. He made his third straight All-Star team to begin his career. The All-Star selections continued coming in 1968 with a 23-13, 2.45 year and he was third in the PL in ERA. The 1969 season saw Ikenaga post an 18-11 record and a 2.57 ERA. He made his fifth consecutive Pacific All-Star team and was in the top 10 in ERA every season of his career. In 1970 Masaaki went 4-3 with a 2.60 ERA before he was banned for life for alleged involvement in the game-fixing Black Mist Scandal. He finished his NPB career with a 103-65 record and a 2.36 ERA. Ikenaga admitted taking money from gamblers via Tsutomu Tanaka but said he did not let it affect his play. In 2005 he was reinstated after long advocating for such an action.

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