Saburo Miyatake (宮武 三郎)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 165 lb.
Saburo Miyatake was a star player in the first season of professional baseball in Japan. His son-in-law Masaaki Koyama would be a star later.
Miyatake was on the team that won the summer Koshien in 1925. He hit the first home run in the history of Meiji Jingu Stadium while also tossing a six-hit shutout over Tokyo University that day. He hit .304 in college while going 39-6 on the mound. He hit 7 career home runs, which was a Tokyo Big Six University League record until Shigeo Nagashima broke it almost three decades later. His 72 RBI remained the record until topped by Koichi Tabuchi almost four decades later.
Miyatake pitched for the All-Japan team that faced the MLB All-Star team including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Charlie Gehringer in 1934. When the Japanese Professional Baseball League was formed in 1936, Saburo played for the Hankyu club. He hit .346/.390/.449 in the spring, with 13 runs and 14 RBI in 18 games. He did not pitch much or well (0-1) and made 9 errors while splitting time between 1B, 3B and the outfield. He finished among the JPBL leaders in average (5th, between Bucky Harris and Masaru Kageura), at-bats (78, 1st), runs (13, tied for 7th with Hisanori Karita), hits (27, tied for 1st with Minoru Yamashita) and doubles (5, tied for third). In the fall campaign, he batted .372/.426/.465. Had he qualified, he would have been .004 shy of batting titlist Susumu Nakane.
Miyatake hit only .222/.271/.364 as Hankyu's 1B in the spring of 1937. His two homers tied for 5th. He batted .226/.294/.322 in the fall. He hit .225/.295/.275 in the spring of 1938 and began pitching regularly again (3-1, 2.63). He had a 6-4, 3.71 record in the fall and batted .237/.311/.366 to end his playing career. His three homers in the fall season tied for 7th. He later managed in the industrial leagues.
Primary Source: Japanbaseballdaily.com