Tsunemi Tsuda

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Tsunemi Tsuda

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Biographical Information[edit]

Tsunemi Tsuda was a five-time All-Star in 10 seasons with the Hiroshima Carp.

Tsuda threw a perfect game in high school. After playing for Kyowa Hakko in the industrial leagues, he was a first-round pick of the Carp in 1981. He debuted in 1982, going 11-6 with a 3.88 ERA. He was named the Central League Rookie of the Year.

In 1983, Tsuda had no sophomore slump as he was 9-3 with a 3.07 ERA and making his first CL All-Star team. He fell to 3-4 with a save and a 4.64 ERA in 1984 and was even worse in 1985 at 2-3 with a save and a 6.64 ERA. On May 13, 1984, he hit a grand slam off Koji Torihara.

Tsuda became the Carp's closer in 1986 and did very well, going 4-6 with 22 saves and a 2.08 ERA, striking out 81 in 69 1/3 IP while allowing only 44 hits. He saved game three and won game four of the 1986 Japan Series but Hiroshima fell to the Seibu Lions. Tsuda led the Carp with five appearances in the Series, tossing 5 1/3 shutout innings against a powerful offense featuring Koji Akiyama, Hiromichi Ishige and Kazuhiro Kiyohara. He made his second CL All-Star team that year and was named Comeback Player of the Year.

In 1987, Tsuda went 3-4 with 18 saves and a 1.64 ERA and was again an All-Star. Tsunemi made his third straight All-Star squad in 1988 when he was 5-9 with 20 saves and a 3.86 ERA.

Tsuda had his best season in 1989 when he was 12-5 with 28 saves and only 50 hits allowed (4 homers) in 83 innings. He posted a 1.63 ERA and made his fifth All-Star team. He led the CL in both saves and save points and was named the league's Fireman of the Year for the only time.

The right-hander had edema of the brain in April 1990 and needed surgery. He only pitched 6 2/3 innings that year, allowing two runs. He was 0-1 with 3 runs in one inning in 1991.

Tsuda died of a brain tumor two years later, only 32 years old. The story of his life was told in a Japanese TV drama.

In 286 games in Nippon Pro Baseball, Tsuda was 49-41 with 90 saves and a 3.31 ERA, allowing 628 hits in 693 innings.

In 2012, he was voted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame alongside Manabu Kitabeppu on the Sportswriter Committee.

Source: Japan Baseball Daily