Kenjiro Matsuki

From BR Bullpen

Kenjiro Matsuki

Biographical Information[edit]

Kenjiro Matsuki attended Meiji University whose team played a series of games against American universities in 1929. He also played on an All-Nippon team that hosted a series against Major League All-Stars including Lou Gehrig.

After spending some time in the Japanese industrial leagues, Matsuki played for Japan's first professional team in 1935. He later captained the Osaka Tigers. Matsuki was a first baseman. He won a batting title and led the league in home runs and slugging percentage in the 1937 Spring season. He captured the triples crown in the fall season.

Matsuki would end his playing days in 1951 with a .263 batting average and a .370 slugging percentage.

In 1940 and 1941, Matsuki was the player-manager for the Tigers. He would manage them again from 1950 to 1954. He managed the Daiei Stars in 1956, the Daiei Unions in 1957, and the Toei Flyers in 1969 and 1970.

During World War II, Matsuki served his country and fought at the Battle of Okinawa where he suffered wounds from mortars in his left leg and hip. In a makeshift cave hospital, nurses were commiting suicide rather than suffer atrocities at the hands of the approaching Americans. Many of the wounded were also blowing themselves up with hand grenades. Matsuki was instrumental in convincing many of his comrades not to kill themselves since he knew Americans and had been to the US and was convinced that they would not perform heinous atrocities. In 1974, Matsuki published his war stories in a book entitled Matsuki Ittohei no Okinawa Horyoki (Pfc. Matsuki's Tale as a Prisoner on Okinawa).

Matsuki was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. He died in 1986.