I know very little about Japanese baseball – primarily because information about the teams in Japan is hard to come by if you can’t read or speak Japanese. But as I was doing my weekly review of news about baseball on Google yesterday, I ran across an article about the death of Japanese baseball manager, Senichi Hoshino. Hoshino passed away on January 4.
After reading more about him, it sounds like he was a pretty interesting guy. He was described as “passionate,” “emotional,” and “hot-blooded.” After Japan’s loss in the 2008 Olympics, he was quoted as saying, “One shouldn’t get feelings mixed up with winning and losing, but as a human being, sometimes I lead based on emotion. That sometimes moves fans and sometimes angers them. That’s a lot of fun.” According to his Wikipedia page:
Hoshino was drafted in the first round by the Chunichi Dragons in 1968 … The Yomiuri Giants had promised Hoshino that he would be their first round draft pick, but the Giants broke their promise, drafting another player instead. This betrayal made Hoshino develop a profound hatred towards the Giants, and he has battled the Giants ever since, both as a pitcher and as a manager. … He was known as the “Kyojin Killer” (Giants Killer) because he seemed to pitch unusually well against the Giants.
Hoshino spent his entire career as a player with the Chunichi Dragons, making his debut on April 13, 1969. During his career, he pitched in 500 games with a win-loss record of 146-121, 34 saves, and an ERA of 3.60. Five years after his retirement as a player, Hoshino became the manager of the Dragons; he managed them from 1987 to 1991 and again from 1996 to 2001. He also managed the Hanshin Tigers (2002-2003), the Japanese Olympic national team (2007-2008), and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (2011-2014). Hoshino led the Golden Eagles to the Japan Series championship in 2013. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.
Senichi Hoshino also happened to be the last manager of Masahiro Tanaka in Japan. Last week, Tanaka paid tribute to Hoshino on Twitter.
Rest in peace, Senichi.