Enomoto (left) led the last year's expert ballot of non-electees with 66 votes, but his election is long overdue. It's possible that Enomoto, a private man who, before his death in 2012, refused to participate with the Meikyuki despite his 2000 career hit qualifications, was snubbed by voters for being an outsider. Groomed by Sadaharu Oh's famed teacher Hiroshi Arakawa, Enomoto was the Rookie of the Year in 1955, an award he cherished, possibly because of Arakawa's guidance. For most of his career, Enomoto hit in the 3-hole, setting up cleanup hitter, and fellow Hall of Famer, Kazuhiro Yamauchi. Not content to support his teammate with a great average and OBP, Enomoto also led the league in Hit By Pitch in three seasons.
Yamauchi and Enomoto would go on to play together as members of the All Star team that faced the St. Louis Cardinals before leading the Orions to the pennant in 1960. That year Enomoto won the first of his two batting crowns. Like Oh (pictured in the upper left corner of the card on the right, diagonal from Enomoto, standing on the steps), Enomoto was blessed with both talent and strong work ethic, building his own batting cage at home after a year long slump and returning to win another crown in 1966 with a .351 average.
No slouch in the field, he won 9 First Nines and 12 All Star selections as a first baseman, setting a record for fielding percentage in 1968. That year he also continued a two season errorless streak at First. He retired with 2314 hits, 246 home runs and a .298 career average.
Both Jim Allen and Japanese Baseball Cards have great posts on Enomoto that are worth reading.
Kudoh (left, with the Gians), with 76.6 percent of the vote, was only the fourth first-ballot Hall of Famer (after Victor Starffin, Sadaharu Oh, and Hideo Nomo). Saitoh (below), a former MVP and three time Sawamura Award winner, was just shy of election last year, but was elected by a comfortable margin, However, no other candidates were within nearly 75 votes.