15:43 JST, January 14, 2023
Former sluggers Alex Ramirez and Randy Bass were elected to Japan pro baseball’s Hall of Fame on Friday, along with late composer Yuji Koseki, who composed the theme song for the national high school baseball championship.
Ramirez, the first foreign-born player with 2,000 hits in Japanese baseball, and Bass, a two-time batting Triple Crown winner, were the only ones to gain the required number of votes in the “player” and “expert” categories, respectively, as announced by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo,
Ramirez, 48, a native of Venezuela who played for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama DeNA BayStars, finished his 13-year career with 2,017 hits, 380 home runs and a .301 batting average.
The two-time Central League MVP became manager of the BayStars after his retirement. In 2019, he became a Japanese citizen.
Ramirez received 290 votes out of 355 valid votes cast in the player category, for those who have been retired for five to 20 years, well more than the 267 (75%) required. Just missing out were former Chunichi Dragons catcher Motonobu Tanishige (253 votes) and Hiroshima Carp pitcher Hiroki Kuroda (245).
The 68-year-old Bass, one of the stars of the 1985 Japan Series champion Hanshin Tigers, won consecutive batting Triple Crowns in 1985 and 1986. The latter year, he set Japan pro baseball records that still stand, including highest batting average in a season (.389) and most consecutive games with a home run (7).
In the expert category, covering managers and coaches retired for six months or more or players retired for 21 years or more, Bass received 121 of 154 valid votes, surpassing the 116 needed. His former Hanshin teammate Masayuki Kakefu was second with 102.
Koseki, who died in 1989 at age 80, was selected as a special award. He was known for composing “Eikan wa Kimi ni Kagayaku” (The glory shines on you), the tournament song of the national high school baseball championship, as well as the team songs for the Giants and Tigers.
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