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2007 Hall of Famers Elected
The Selection Committee for Players has elected Takao Kajimoto, and the Special Selection Committee has elected Reiichi Matsunaga respectively into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Born in Kofu City in Yamanashi Prefecture on April 8, 1935, and raised in Tajimi City in Gifu Prefecture.
On graduating from Tajimi Technical High School in 1954, he joined the Hankyu Braves and pitched in the opener, a fabulous feat for a rookie out of high school. In that first season, he appeared in 55 games and notched 20 wins, losing 12 games. In his 20 years of pitching career, he won 20 or more games in a season 4 times, the most being in 1956 when he won 28 games and was selected into the Best Nine team. As his 254 career wins show, for a long time from the latter part of 1950s to the end of 1960s, the lefty was one of the twin mainstays of the Hankyu Braves together with the right-hander Tetsuya Yoneda, who notched 350 wins in 22 seasons and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

After retiring in 1973, he coached the Hankyu Braves for 5 years (1974-78) and managed the team for 2 years (1979-80), becoming its coach again (1981-85). Later he coached two other teams: Orix BlueWave (1989-93) and the Chunichi Dragons (1998-99).

He throws and bats left. He died on September 23, 2006 at the age of 71.

His career record as a pitcher: 867 games (3rd on the career list),254 W (9th), 255 L, 4,208 IP(6th), 2,945 SO (6th) with 2.98 ERA.
He led the Pacific League in most SO 2 times (1956-57) and appeared in the annual All-Star games for 12 years. He struck out 9 consecutive batters in a game on July 23, 1957, still the Japanese record shared only by Masayuki Dobashi in 1958.
His career record as a manager: 260 G, 133 W, 111 L, 16 ties with .545 WA.

"MATSUNAGA, Reiichi"

Born in Kita-Kyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture on November 3, 1931.
Though he participated in the National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament in 1950 representing Fukuoka Yahata High School, he was not able to continue to play at Hosei University due to an injury. But he found his proper element in managing a baseball team after he graduated from his university in 1955. The Best Manager Award bestowed on him in 1984 by International Amateur Baseball Association epitomizes his brilliant career as manager.

As manager of Hosei First High School (1955-63), he entered for the NIHSBT (1960) and the National High School Baseball Championship (1961). As manager of Hosei University (1965-70), he won 6 times in the Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League and most notably won the 17th National University Baseball Championship in 1968. Among many players coached by him are two sluggers:Koichi Tabuchi (Hanshin Tigers,later Seibu Lions) and Koji Yamamoto (Hiroshima Carp). As manager of Sumitomo Metals (1971-80), he won the Japan Baseball Championship twice (1977, 1979). He led Team Japan to the Bronze in the 3rd Inter-Continental Cup Tournament in Nicaragua in 1977. To top it all, Matsunaga Japan defeated the seemingly invincible U.S. team in the final game of the Olympic tournament in Los Angeles in 1984. The eight days of international competition paved the way for baseballís inclusion in the 1992 Olympics as a full-fledged medal sport.

He also held important posts on JOC, Japan Amateur Baseball Association, and the Baseball Federation of Japan.He was particularly active in promoting baseball and improving its skills as chairman of the Committee for Technical Guidance of the All-Japan Baseball Congress, which combines pro and amateur baseball. He is now an honorary member of the JOC.


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