The 76th birthday of Japanese baseball player Sachio Kinugasa is celebrated in today’s Doodle. In 1987, he set a new record for the most consecutive baseball games played, which he maintained for the following nine years.
Kinugasa was born in Kyoto, Japan, on this date in 1947, to a Japanese mother and an African American father. As a young boy, he was teased because he was mixed race.
He started playing baseball at a Heian Buddhist high school, and as an infielder in the national high school tournament, he became popular. He signed with the Hiroshima Carp baseball team in 1965. He was a third baseman in the starting lineup a few years later and hit around 15 home runs per year for more than 20 years.
Kinugasa was dedicated to the sport and participated in a record-breaking 2,215 games consecutively, despite occasionally having broken bones. He was known as Tetsujin (Iron Man) because he thought it was more painful to miss a game than to play while injured.
Kinugasa was a versatile player who ranks seventh in career home runs with a total of 504, fifth in career hits, and tenth in career runs batted in. However, he is best known for his streak of consecutive games. He helped the Carp win the league championship for the first time in 1975.
His athletic performance earned him a lot of accolades. In 1984, Kinugasa won the Japanese championship series, earning him the title of Central League MVP. He became the second baseball player to receive the People’s Honor Award from the Prime Minister of Japan, which recognizes achievements in sports and entertainment. He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. Kinugasa left the Carp to work as a baseball announcer for TBS. He has been a sports fan all his life.
Happy birthday, Sachio Kinugasa, a baseball player who won numerous hearts and bases!
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