Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hall of Fame 2015

In November 2014, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Tokyo announced the Players Division and Expert Division ballots for the Hall of Fame Class of 2015.  Superstars such as Atsuya Furuta, Masumi Kuwata, and Kazuhiro Kiyohara return to the the Players Division Ballot, and are joined by notable former stars Tuffy Rhodes and Norihiro Akahoshi (below) among 9 first timers.

Rhodes hit 464 home runs for the Kintetsu/Orix Buffalos and Yomiuri Giants, but is probably best known for tying Sadaharu Oh's single season home run mark of 55 before the Oh led Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks allegedly pitched around him in order to preserve their manager's (and national hero's) record.  Akahoshi was a base stealing, smooth fielding infielder for the Hanshin Tigers who retired early after a diving catch resulted in a major injury.

The Expert Division ballot includes return appearances by Kihachi Enomoto, Koichi Tabuchi, Randy Bass, Boomer Wells, and ANAFN's favorite Masayuki Dobashi, among others.  They are joined by five newcomers, including Senichi Hoshino, Haruki Ikara, and Yasunori Oshima.

Oshima (right) is a member of the Meikyukai, and after a 20+ year career with the Chunichi Dragons and Nippon-Ham Fighters he ended up with 382 home runs and 2204 hits, good for top 15 all-time in both categories at the time of his retirement.  His long hair and good looks set him apart from his fellow Dragons in the 70's and earned him a youthful fan following.  After retiring, he took the helm of the Fighters, though to little success.

Hoshino (below) found success as a pitcher with the Dragons, winning 146 games and a Sawamura award as a teammate of Yasunori Oshima, but found even greater success as a manager.

He led both the Dragons and Tigers to pennants, and proved to be immensely popular throughout his career with an outsized personality and outspoken dislike of the Yomiuri Giants. He then took the helm of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, and, with the help of Masahiro Tanaka's 24-0 season, won the pennant and the Japan Series in 2013.

The results are scheduled to be announced on January 23, 2015.

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