|Born:January 18, 1947|
|Died: April 23, 2018(aged 71)|
|May 16, 1965, for the Hiroshima Carp|
|October 22, 1987, for the Hiroshima Carp|
|Runs batted in||1448|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the Japanese|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
Sachio Kinugasa (衣笠 祥雄; January 18, 1947 – April 23, 2018) was a Japanese professional baseball third baseman for the Hiroshima Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball league from 1965 to 1987. He was nicknamed Tetsujin, meaning "Iron Man". He played in a record-breaking 2,215 consecutive games, having surpassed Lou Gehrig's record by 1987.
Kinugasa is mostly remembered for his consecutive-game streak, but he ranks seventh in Nippon Professional Baseball 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. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
Kinugasa's mother was Japanese and she raised him by herself. Kinugasa's father was an African American serviceman who was stationed in Japan after World War II. He reported that he never met his father.
Kinugasa entered 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 an arm injury led him to being converted into a first baseman 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 Central League's Most Valuable Player award in 1984 as his team won the Japanese championship series.
Nicknamed Tetsujin (Iron Man), after the robot manga "Tetsujin 28" (Known as Gigantor in the United States), Kinugasa played in games even when he was badly injured, including with bone fractures. He last missed a game on October 18, 1970, and set the Japanese consecutive games played record with his 1,247th consecutive game on August 2, 1980. He tied Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games played on June 11, 1987. Kinugasa retired after the 1987 season, ending his career with 2,215 consecutive games played, 2,543 hits, and 504 home runs. His consecutive games played streak was broken in 1996 by Cal Ripken Jr., who played in 2,632 straight games in Major League Baseball.
Awards and accolades
Kinugasa was given the People's Honour Award for his performance in the professional leagues. He is the second baseball player, following Sadaharu Oh and followed by Shigeo Nagashima and Hideki Matsui, to have received the award.
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- "Baseball: 'Iron Man' Kinugasa dies at 71". English.kyodonews.net. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "'Iron Man' Sachio Kinugasa dies at 71". Japan Times. April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- Landers, Chris. "Sachio Kinugasa, Japan's iron man, has passed away at the age of 71". MLB.com. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "Hiroshima Carp's 'Iron Man' Kinugasa dies at 71". NHK World. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- Haberman, Clyde. "Japan Cheers For Star With Staying Power". The New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2018.