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|Born:January 18, 1947|
|NPB: May 16, 1965 for the Hiroshima Carp|
|Last professional appearance|
|October 22, 1987 for the Hiroshima Carp|
|Runs batted in||1448|
|Career highlights and awards|
He was inducted into the Japanese baseball hall of fame in 1996.
Kinugasa entered the Heian high school in Kyoto, and advanced to the Japanese National High School Baseball Championship twice in his senior year as a catcher. He was signed by the Hiroshima Carp in 1965, and spent several years in the minors before being converted to first base in 1968. He became the team's regular first baseman, hitting 21 home runs with a .276 batting average. In 1975, he moved to third base at the suggestion of manager Joe Lutz, and his efforts helped the Hiroshima Carp win their first ever league championship. He led the league in stolen bases in 1976, and won the MVP award in 1984 as his team won the Japanese championship series. Kinugasa's solid hitting and defense made him one of the central players of the Carp's golden age in the late 70s and early 80s.
His jersey number (28, later changed to 3) gave him the nickname, Tetsujin (Iron Man), after the robot comic "Tetsujin 28" (Known as Gigantor in the United States). Kinugasa was worthy of his nickname, playing in games even when he was badly injured. His consecutive game streak began in October, 1970, and ended when he retired in 1987, passing Lou Gehrig's record in the major leagues to become the world record. His streak of 2215 consecutive games played was broken in 1996 by Cal Ripken, Jr., who played in 2632 straight games in the major leagues.
Kinugasa was given the People's Honour Award for his performance in the professional leagues. He and Sadaharu Oh are the only baseball players to have received the award. His jersey number (3) was retired by the Carp in 1987.
Kinugasa currently writes baseball related articles for newspapers, and sometimes appears on variety television shows. His eldest son, Tomoaki, has had a successful career as an actor.
He is mostly remembered for his consecutive game streak, but he ranks 7th in career home runs (504), 5th in career hits (2543), and 10th in career RBIs (1448), showing that he was one of the most consistent hitters in Japanese baseball.
There is a baseball stadium in Nagasaki named after Kinugasa.
|1975||Hiroshima||3||130||479||66||132||22||1||21||71||219||49||18||61||.276||Best 9, League Champion|
|1979||Hiroshima||3||130||410||82||114||21||2||20||57||199||64||15||72||.278||League Champion, Japan Series Champion|
|1980||Hiroshima||3||130||489||79||144||20||0||31||85||257||52||16||89||.294||Gold Glove Award, Best 9, League Champion, Japan Series Champion|
|1984||Hiroshima||3||130||490||79||161||25||1||31||102||281||39||11||83||.329||MVP, RBI, Gold Glove Award, Best 9, Matsutaro-Shoriki Award, League Champion, Japan Series Champion|
|1986||Hiroshima||3||130||477||42||98||11||0||24||59||181||39||4||80||.205||Gold Glove Award, League Champion|
|1987||Hiroshima||3||130||370||40||92||17||0||17||48||160||26||2||61||.249||National Prize of Honour|
- Koji Yamamoto
- Tsunemi Tsuda
- Manabu Kitabeppu
- Matsutaro Shoriki Award (1984)
- People's Honour Award (1987)
|Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize
|Matsutaro Shoriki Award