Lenn Haruki Sakata
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 160 lb.
- School Treasure Valley Community College, Gonzaga University
- High School Kalani High School
- Debut July 21, 1977
- Final Game June 28, 1987
- Born June 8, 1954 in Honolulu, HI USA
Lenn Sakata was a light-hitting utility infielder mainly for the Baltimore Orioles in the early 1980s. He began his career with the Milwaukee Brewers, but was traded to Baltimore in December of 1979 for pitcher John Flinn. He was a member of the 100-win 1980 Orioles team, the 1982 team that finished one game behind the Brewers in the American League East, and won the World Series championship with the 1983 edition of the team.
Sakata is probably best known for his part in the Orioles' 7-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on August 24, 1983 (Boxscore). He entered the game at second base as a late-inning substitute but after a number of pinch hitters and other substitutions depleted the Orioles' bench, Sakata was pressed into duty as an emergency catcher in the top of the 10th inning. With Sakata behind the dish for the first (and last) time in his career, the Blue Jays put three runners on base. But in succession pitcher Tippy Martinez picked each one off first base. In the bottom of the 10th Sakata, who hit 25 home runs in his 11-year career, hit a three-run home run off Randy Moffitt to win the game. He claimed jokingly that he would have done anything not to have to return for another inning behind the plate.
Sakata coached in the Oakland A's system from 1988 to 1990 and the California Angels' chain with the Edmonton Trappers in 1991-1992 and Vancouver Canadians in 1993-1994. He then went to Japan in the Chiba Lotte Marines organization from 1995 to 1998. He was in the San Francisco Giants organization from 1999 to 2007, all but three of them as manager of the San Jose Giants. He was also manager of the Bakersfield Blaze in 2000, the Fresno Grizzlies in 2002 and was a roving hitting instructor in 2003. Sakata also managed briefly in the Oakland A's chain in 1988-1989. Sakata has won 3 California League championships (2001 co-champ with Lake Elsinore, 2005, and 2007) as manager for the San Jose Giants.
After the 2007 season, Sakata re-joined the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball as their farm team manager. Sakata returned to America as hitting coach of the Asheville Tourists in 2011. He transitioned back to manager of the California League Modesto Nuts in 2012 & 2013, then moved to skipper the San Jose Giants for 2014. Sakata stepped away from the game after that season and retired to Hawaii. With his time in minor league baseball seemingly done, the San Jose Giants retired his number in 2019 to commemorate his contributions to the club. Sakata, however, had a next chapter. He was called back into service by the Giants organization to manage in the 2021 season back with the San Jose Giants.