- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 175 lb.
- School College of Idaho
- Born 1927
- Died May 10, 2018 in Seattle, WA USA
Catcher Hank Matsubu was one of the first Japanese-Americans to play in the minors.
When America locked up citizens of Japanese descent, Matsubu's family was interred in a camp in Idaho when he was a sophomore in high school. He later spent 19 months in the Army and his team won the Sixth Army championship. He hit .300 in college and was signed by Pittsburgh Pirates scout Dave Herman for a $3,000 bonus. He also had offers from teams from Nippon Pro Baseball; this was before Wally Yonamine became the first American to play in NPB after World War II. The offers, though, wound up in New Plymouth, MA instead of New Plymouth, ID, by which point he had signed with the Pirates.
He hit .236 and slugged .323 for the 1949 Modesto Reds and formed the first All-Nisei battery in the US pro ranks with Jiro Nakamura. In 1950, he batted .285/~.379/.401 for the Yuma Panthers, fielding .985. He had hit .270 and slugged .377 for his pro career. He later ran a grocery store and a Seattle Mariners season ticket holder. The M's honored him in 2007, where he got to meet Ichiro Suzuki.
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