June 29, 1935 |
Kyōtango, Kyoto, Japan
|NPB: June 17, 1954 for the Nankai Hawks|
|Last professional appearance|
|October 3, 1980 for the Seibu Lions|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the Japanese|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
Katsuya Nomura (野村 克也 Nomura Katsuya?, born June 29, 1935 in Amino, Takeno District (Present: Kyotango), Kyoto prefecture, Japan) was one of Nippon Professional Baseball's (NPB) greatest catchers, and was also a long-time manager for the Yakult Swallows and the Hanshin Tigers of the Central League, and for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League. With 657 career home runs, Nomura is number two on the all-time NPB list, behind Sadaharu Oh. Nomura was elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.
He lost his father at the age of three years old, and his mother and brother raised him in poverty. He never made it to the national baseball tournaments in high school, but he was given a chance to play for the Nankai Hawks as a trainee without salary.
During a career that spanned four decades from 1954 to 1980, Nomura hit 657 home runs and led the Pacific League in homers eight straight seasons. (However, it should be taken into consideration that his home park, Osaka Stadium, measured only 276 feet down the lines until 1972, and 300 feet from 1972 onward, and 380 feet to straightaway center — tiny dimensions by Major League Baseball standards.) He finished his career with 2901 hits.
In 1965, Nomura won the league's first Triple Crown. He was a player-manager between 1970 and 1977. He played for 26 years, the longest NPB playing career until Kimiyasu Kudoh pitched in his 27th season in 2008.
Besides managing the Hawks from 1970–1977, Nomura steered the Yakult Swallows to four league titles in the 1990s, and won the Japan Series in 1993, 1995 and 1997. One of his important contribution was raising Atsuya Furuta to be a great catcher. Furuta is sometimes regarded as the successor of his boss, because he won the 1993 League MVP, and became the player-manager of Swallows between 2006-2007. This is the only such case in the NPB after Nomura did so with the Hawks.
After stepping down as the Yakult skipper, Nomura managed the Hanshin Tigers from 1999 to 2001 but resigned after Hanshin finished at the bottom of the Central League for three straight seasons. Additionally, Nomura's wife, Sachiyo, was in legal trouble in 2001 due to charges of tax evasion, which also contributed to his decision to relinquish his position.
Nomura was hired to manage an industrial league team, Shidax Baseball Club, in 2003. He led the team through the 2005 season. Nomura returned to the NPB as a manager for the 2006 season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. In so doing, he became the oldest manager in the history of NPB.
On April 29, 2009, he reached the 1,500 win mark in his managerial career, but he also holds the all-time record for number of losses. He led the Eagles to their then-best-ever record of second place the regular season.
Prior to taking on the job of managing the Hanshin Tigers, Nomura also appeared on the Japanese cooking show Iron Chef as a guest judge in a handful of episodes, including one of Masaharu Morimoto's first episodes in the King Crab battle.
In 2013, he played a funny character named "Boyaite-Bakkari-Man" in commercial message of Japanese soccer lottery.
- "Sachiyo Nomura indicted over tax evasion". The Japan Times. 2001-12-27. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
- Nippon Professional Baseball career statistics from Japanesebaseball.com
|Matsutaro Shoriki Award
|Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles manager