|Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles – No. 77|
|Pitcher / Manager|
22 January 1947 |
Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|13 April, 1969 for the Chunichi Dragons|
|Last professional appearance|
|1982 for the Chunichi Dragons|
|Career highlights and awards|
Hoshino was born the third of three children in Kurashiki, Japan. His father died three months after he was born, and his mother raised him and his two sisters alone. He played baseball throughout his high school years, but was unable to advance to the Koshien baseball tournament. He entered Meiji University, and became a starter from his first year. He marked 23 total wins in the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League, including one no-hitter, but his team never won the league championship. Hoshino's reputation as a hot-headed leader began in his years at Meiji University, when he and other members of the baseball team banded together to break down a barricade set up around the school by a student protest group.
Hoshino was drafted in the first round by the Chunichi Dragons in 1968, led by manager Shigeru Mizuhara. 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. Hoshino signed with the Dragons in 1969, and pitched both as a starter and reliever, quickly becoming the ace of the Dragons pitching staff. He led the league in saves in 1974, and won the Eiji Sawamura Award. More importantly however, his team won the league championship, stopping the Yomiuri Giants record of consecutive league championships at 9. He was known as the "Kyojin Killer" (Giants Killer) because he seemed to pitch unusually well against the Giants. His team won another league championship in 1982, and Hoshino retired after that year. His career record was 146-121, with 34 saves.
Hoshino was an extremely popular figure during his career, not because of his skill as a pitcher, but because of his persona. Baseball fans were sick of seeing the Yomiuri Giants win the championship year after year, and Hoshino's outspoken hatred of the Giants finally gave fans a player to root for beside Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh. Hoshino stayed with the Dragons for his entire career, and was very well respected by his teammates.
Hoshino worked as a commentator for NHK after retiring, and his popularity with both fans and players called him back to the Chunichi Dragons as a manager in 1987. Hoshino made a number of big trades, and led the Dragons to a league championship in 1988. He stepped down in 1991, and returned to his job as a commentator and sports writer.
The Dragons did poorly after Hoshino's departure, and he was once again called back to lead the team in 1996. Hoshino won his second league championship in 1999, but stepped down again after his team placed 5th in 2001.
In 2002, Hoshino was called to take over as manager of the miserable Hanshin Tigers, who had been in last place for the last four years under Katsuya Nomura. He raised the team to fourth place in his first year, and made huge cuts during the off-season while recruiting free agents like Tomoaki Kanemoto and Hideki Irabu. The Tigers won the league championship in 2003; Hoshino's third championship as manager. However, he frequently fell ill during games in 2003, often leaving the head coach to manage the team while he sat quietly on the bench. He stepped down after the 2003 Japanese championship series due to health reasons, allegedly due to high blood pressure and heart arrhythmia, but was the assistant senior director of the Hanshin Tigers until 2010. In 2007, he became the manager of the Japan national baseball team, which won the Asian Baseball Championship (the qualifier for the Beijing Olympics) defeating the Philippines, Korea, and Taiwan. However, the "Hoshino Japan" finished with a 4-5 record in the 2008 Beijing Olympics with no medals.
Hoshino returned to baseball in a managing capacity in 2011, this time with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. A formal announcement was made in October 2010. He led the Eagles to their first Pacific League Championship, and Japan Series title in the 2013 season.
- 500 Games
- 146 Wins
- 121 Losses
- 34 Saves
- 3.60 ERA
- 1744 Games
- 920 Wins
- 791 Losses
- 33 Ties
- 3 League Championships
- "Japan Olympic coach Hoshino won't return for WBC". ESPN. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- Nippon Professional Baseball career statistics from Japanesebaseball.com
- Sen'ichi Hoshino's official website (in Japanese)