Yutaka Fukumoto

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Yutaka Fukumoto
Outfielder
Born: (1947-11-07) November 7, 1947 (age 67)[1]
Osaka, Japan
Batted: Left Threw: Left
Professional debut
1969 for the Hankyu Braves
Last professional appearance
1988 for the Hankyu Braves
Career statistics
Batting average .291
Home runs 208
Hits 2,543
Stolen bases 1065
Teams

As player

As coach

Career highlights and awards
Member of the Japanese
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Inducted 2002

Yutaka Fukumoto (福本 豊, born November 7, 1947, in Osaka, Osaka) is a retired Japanese professional baseball player in Nippon Professional Baseball. An aggressive lead-off man and superior defensive centerfielder, he holds the Japanese career records in triples and stolen bases. He also hit more lead-off home runs than anyone in Japanese history, with 43. In 2002 (Heisei 14), Fukumoto was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.[1]

Playing career[edit]

After a brief career at the company team of Matsushita,[1] he was drafted seventh overall by the Hankyu Braves (currently the Orix Buffaloes) in 1968. In his second season, he stole 75 bases, setting the Japanese single-season record.

In 1972 (Shōwa 47), he stole 106 bases, setting the all-world single-season modern-era record.[1][2] He also led the Braves to the Japanese championship. Fukumoto was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) and became the first Japanese MVP who had also led the league in steals.

In 1983, he stole his 939th career base,[1] passing Lou Brock and setting the all-world career steals mark (later passed by Rickey Henderson in 1993).[2][3] That year he also collected his 2000th career hit. He was contacted for a National Honor Award, but declined.[citation needed]

Retirement[edit]

After the 1988 season, the Braves were slated to become the Orix Blue Wave. At the last game of the year, manager Toshiharu Ueda delivered a farewell address at the post-game ceremony. Ueda made the mistake of saying, "We bid farewell to Yamada and Fukumoto (who will leave the team) ..." instead of "We bid farewell to Yamada but will have Fukumoto (for the new team) ...". Everyone was caught by surprise, including Fukumoto himself, since he had intended to play at least another year. Fukumoto shrugged to reporters and said, "Ueda said so, I'm retiring," and ended his career, He retired with 2,543 hits, 208 home runs, 449 doubles (2nd all-time), 115 triples, 884 runs batted in, 1,065 stolen bases, and a .291 batting average, in 2401 games.

Fukumoto felt no ill will towards Ueda and went on to coach for Orix in 1989 and 1990. From 1998 to 1999, he coached for the Hanshin Tigers.

He works as a baseball commentator for Asahi Broadcasting Corporation and an independent TV station, SUN-TV.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "デジタル版 日本人名大辞典+Plusの解説" (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Fitts, Robert K. (2005). Remembering Japanese baseball: an oral history of the game. SIU Press. pp. xxix–xxxi. 
  3. ^ "Fukumoto blazed quite a trail on bases before Rickey came along". The Japan Times. January 17, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2010.