Akitoshi Kodama

From BR Bullpen

Akitoshi Kodama (小玉 明利)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 154 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Akitoshi Kodama was a nine-time All-Star in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Kodama debuted with the Kintetsu Pearls in 1954, hitting .264/.314/.371 as a rookie. He put up a .290/.313/.387 line in 1955 and .273/.310/.401 with 28 RBI in 1956 (he ground into 18 double plays that year, leading the Pacific League). Akitoshi hit .288/.343/.409 in 1957. He was 7th in the league in average, between Seiji Sekiguchi and Yasumitsu Toyoda.

Kodama cracked 32 doubles in 1958 and hit .301/.344/.432. He was 4th in average in the PL, trailing only Futoshi Nakanishi, Shoichi Busujima and Takao Katsuragi. He was four doubles behind pacesetter Yoshinori Hirose. In 1959, he hit .293/.342/.423. He was 8th in average, between Yasumitsu Toyoda and Junzo Sekine.

Still only 24 years old, Kodama hit .301/.358/.509 with a career-high 20 home runs in 1960. He was 5th in average behind Kihachi Enomoto, Kenjiro Tamiya, Kazuhiro Yamauchi and Isao Harimoto. He made his first Best Nine as the PL's top third baseman, an honor dominated by Nakanishi during the 1950s. The Hyogo native fell to .294/.351/.431 in 1961, with a league-best 42 doubles. He lost out the Best Nine to Nakanishi and just missed the top 10 in average.

The veteran infielder batted .314/.351/.427 in 1962 to finish 7th in average between Hiromi Wada and Sekine. He made the Best Nine for the second time. He took that honor again in 1963, when he hit .306/.346/.417 with 30 doubles (3 shy of leader Masahiro Doi). He was 4th in average, trailing Jack Bloomfield, Enomoto and Shozo Higuchi.

Kodama was at .304/.359/.430 in 1964 and was picked to the Best Nine for the 4th time. He was 4th in batting average for the third time in his career, this time behind Hirose, Harimoto and Teruyuki Takakura. He hit .304 again in 1965, raising his OBP to .368 and his slugging to .452 in his last big year. He was chosen for the Best Nine for the fifth time.

In 1966, Kodama fell all the way to .245/.303/.329. He rebounded somewhat to .274/.310/.384 in 1967, ending his 14-year career with Kintetsu. That year, he also served as manager, going 59-71-2 and finishing last; he succeeded Yoshiyuki Iwamoto as skipper and was replaced by Osamu Mihara.

Moving to the Hanshin Tigers, Kodama hit .212/.275/.294 in 1968 and .212/.262/.222 as a bench player in 1969, a shadow of his former self. Overall, he had batted .286/.334/.407 with 358 doubles and 130 home runs in 1,946 games.

Source: Japan Baseball Daily