Susumu Yuki

From BR Bullpen

Susumi Yuki (柚木 進)

  • Bats Right, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 151 lbs.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Susumu Yuki won a MVP and pitched 9 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Yuki was the ace of Hosei University before World War II. However, he was captured by the Soviet Union and stayed in Siberia for two years. When he returned to Japan in 1947, he was already a 27-year-old. Yuki planned to join Nanyo Kohatsu of the Industrial League and become their staff after retiring, but his schoolmate Kazuto Tsuruoka persuaded him to become a professional baseball player. Thus, Yuki signed a contract with the Nankai Hawks in 1948.

Yuki joined the rotation of the Hawks as a rookie, and soon became their ace. He was 19-11 with a 1.89 ERA, ranked 2nd in ERA (.05 behind Hiroshi Nakao) and 7th in wins (8 behind Nakao and Tokuji Kawasaki) in the Japanese Professional Baseball League. He slumped to 13 wins with a 3.93 ERA in 1949, then bounced back and collected 19 wins in 1950 when the two leagues split. Yuki was 3rd in wins (8 behind Atsushi Aramaki) and 3rd in ERA (.73 behind Aramaki) in the Pacific League.

The Kure native was selected for the first NPB All-Star Game - the 1951 NPB All-Star Games - and recorded 3 shutout innings in Game 2. He was 19-5 with a 2.08 ERA and won his first ERA title. Yuki ranked 3rd in wins (5 behind Haruyasu Eto) and 3rd in strikeouts (46 behind Hachiro Abe). In the 1951 Nippon Series, Yuki started in Game 2, but he allowed 5 runs in 3 innings and the Yomiuri Giants easily beat them with Takehiko Bessho's shutout. He then relieved in Game 3 and collected a save for Takeo Hattori with a shutout inning (though saves were not yet an official stat). He started again in Game 5, but he allowed a 2-run shot by Mitsuo Uno in 2 innings and the Giants beat the Hawks to win the Nippon Series title.

The 1952 season was Yuki's career year. He was 19-7 with 104 Ks and a league-leading 1.91 ERA, and became the first southpaw in Pacific League history to win an ERA title in consecutive years. He led the league in strikeouts and winning percentage, ranked 2nd in wins (4 behind Masaaki Noguchi) and won his first Best Nine award. Yuki also became the first player in the Pacific League to win the NPB Most Valuable Player Award. He encountered the Giants in the 1952 Nippon Series again, and he avenged himself with a shutout win over Takumi Otomo in Game 3. His next start was Game 6, but he allowed 3 runs in 6 innings and the Giants and Bessho beat him again to win the Nippon Series title.

Yuki was still productive in 1953, when he collected 16 wins with a 2.54 ERA. He started and pitched 2 shutout innings in 1953 NPB All-Star Game 2, and ended up with a no-decision. He was 6th in wins (8 behind Tokuji Kawasaki) this year. The Hawks won their third consecutive Pacific League pennant, but their Series opponent was still the Giants. Yuki relieved with 6 2/3 innings and collected a win over Bessho in Game 1, then allowed 4 runs in 8 innings and got the loss to Masanori Iritani in Game 5. The Giants beat the Hawks in 7 games, and Yuki was unable to win a Nippon Series title in his entire career.

The 34-year-old veteran was 14-6 with a 2.36 ERA in 1954, and attended the All-Star Game for the fourth and the last time; he started and pitched 3 shutout innings in Game 2. Yuki was only 3-4 with a 2.15 ERA in 1955, and served as the opener and collected a shutout inning in Game 1 of the 1955 Nippon Series. That's the only appearance of Yuki in that series, and the Giants beat the Hawks again in 7 games. He only had 3 appearances in 1956, then announced his retirement after the 1956 season. He then became a coach and served as the pitching coach for the Hawks from 1957 to 1968 and in 1978. He was also a scout for the Hawks from 1969 to 1978.

Overall, Yuki was 123-64 with a 2.49 ERA, struck out 728 and pitched 1,511 2/3 innings in 9 seasons in NPB.

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