Isao Okada

From BR Bullpen

Isao Okada (岡田功)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 156 lb.

BR Japan page

Biographical Information[edit]

Isao Okada was an outfielder and umpire in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Okada signed with the Osaka Tigers in 1950. He was 0 for 3 in 1952, his debut with the Tigers. He went 1 for 5 in six games in 1954. In 1955, he went 0 for 13 with two steals and five runs in 31 games, presumably pinch-running mostly. He finished his career 1-for-21 in 41 games.

Okada then became an umpire for the Central League until 1992. He worked every Japan Series from 1969 through 1981 as well as the 1983 Japan Series, 1984 Japan Series and 1991 Japan Series. He also worked the 1962 NPB All-Star Game, 1963 NPB All-Star Game, 1964 NPB All-Star Game, 1965 NPB All-Star Game, 1966 NPB All-Star Game, 1967 NPB All-Star Game, 1968 NPB All-Star Game, 1969 NPB All-Star Game, 1971 NPB All-Star Game, 1974 NPB All-Star Game, 1977 NPB All-Star Game, 1979 NPB All-Star Game, 1984 NPB All-Star Game and 1991 NPB All-Star Game. His 3,899 regular season games worked were a NPB record, breaking contemporary Hiroya Tomizawa's record of 3,776.

Okada was involved in numerous notable incidents during his career. He worked the 1968 game where Gene Bacque was badly injured in a brawl after pitching closely inside to Sadaharu Oh. In the 4th game of the 1969 Japan Series, he was involved in a controversial call at home. Shozo Doi was trying to come home from third on a throw from home to second to catch Oh stealing. Fujio Yamaguchi's throw back to catcher Koji Okamura arrived just ahead of Doi but a little offline and Okamura tagged Doi in a close play. Okada ruled Doi safe and Okamura disagreed, bumping or punching Okada; Okada promptly ejected Okamura, the first player ever ejected from a Japan Series game. Hankyu Braves manager Yukio Nishimoto replaced Okamura with Yukiyoshi Okada, who intentionally let pitches go by to hit Isao Okada.

Okada was then involved in the 1982 Violent Tiger Incident. Greg Johnston kicked dirt over the plate while arguing a call with Okada (there had been a 8-minute delay the prior inning on a balk call); Okada told Johnston to clean the plate. In the 7th, with a 1-1 tie, 3B umpire Wataru Wakiya ruled a hit down the third base line by Taira Fujita foul; Hanshin Tigers coach Akiteru Kono said the ball had hit the third baseman's glove and should be fair. Tigers coaches Ikuo Shimano and Takeshi Shibata hit Wakiya and Okada came to help his fellow umpire and was kicked and beaten as well by the Tigers players and coaches; Akinobu Mayumi was the only Tiger trying to help restore order. Okada initially said he would call the game for the Yokohama BayStars but let the game resume after the fans appealed. Hanshin wound up winning in the 9th. Okada missed two weeks due to injury. Both coaches would be suspended indefinitely to be reinstated the next season.

In the 2014 Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame Election, Okada got one vote from the Special Committee ballot.

Sources[edit]