Masayuki Matsunuma (松沼 雅之) (Otomatsu)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.
Masayuki was 39-26 with a 1.84 ERA in college and set a Tokyo Metropolitan University League record with 15 shutouts. He was twice named the league's MVP. Undrafted despite that success, he was signed by the Seibu Lions in 1978. As a rookie in 1979, he went 4-5 with 3 saves and a 4.56 ERA. He tied Toshoku Uda for 7th in the Pacific League with 39 games pitched. He improved to 12-7 with a save and a 4.00 ERA in 1980. He was among the PL leaders in wins (9th), complete games (11, tied for 10th with Choji Murata) and strikeouts (123, 5th, between Murata and Kazumi Takahashi).
In 1981, he was 12-8 with 3 saves and a 3.46 ERA, making his first All-Star team. He was 9th in ERA (between Kenji Tachibana and Shigekuni Mashiba, both also at 3.46), tied for 7th in complete games (11, even with Osamu Higashio), led in shutouts (4), was 9th in innings (189 2/3, between Norihiro Mizutani and Tokinari Nishina), tied for 9th in homers allowed (22, even with Shinichi Yamauchi), tied for 8th in strikeouts (83, equal with Shigekazu Mori) and 7th in walks (60, between Yamauchi and Manabu Fujita).
Matsunuma had his best season (11-8, 2.76) in 1982. He was among the PL top 10 in ERA (3rd, between Mikio Kudoh and Hirohisa Matsunuma), wins (tied for 7th), shutouts (3, tied for 3rd with Kudoh, Mizutani and Hiroaki Nagamoto) and strikeouts (110, 3rd, behind his brother and Isamu Kida). He was an All-Star for the second time. He only made one appearance in the 1982 Japan Series, though, getting the last out of a game 4 loss to the Chunichi Dragons; Seibu won the Series anyhow. In 1983, he had another fine season (15-8, 3.25, .213 opponent average, 1.05 WHIP) and was again an All-Star. He was third in ERA (behind Higashio and Naoki Takahashi), third in strikeouts (112, after Yamaoki and Shoji Kawahara), tied for third in wins (with Yutaro Imai and Yamaoki), tied for first in shutouts (3, even with Higashio and Keishi Suzuki), 5th in IP (216, between Suzuki and Hisashi Yamada), 6th in walks (62, between Yuji Inoue and Imai) and tied for 9th in homers allowed (24, even with Kazuhiro Yamauchi). Teammate Higashio was named both to the Best Nine and as PL MVP. He was used in relief in the 1983 Japan Series, making appearances in games 2, 4, 6 and 7 and getting the win in game four over the Yomiuri Giants (his brother had won game two). He allowed just one unearned run in 11 innings.
The Chiba native went 11-8 with a 3.68 ERA in 1984. He was 9th in innings pitched (178 1/3), tied for 5th in hit batsmen (8, with Isao Tamura and Higashio) and 7th in ERA (between Hiroaki Tani and Nishina). He made his fourth straight (and final) All-Star team. He fell to 0-2, 7.06 with a .301 opponent average in 1985 while battling an elbow injury; injuries would plague him the remainder of his career. Despite just seven regular-season games, he led Seibu with five outings in the 1985 Japan Series, which they dropped to the Hanshin Tigers; he allowed only one run in 6 1/3 IP to remain sharp in the postseason.
#16 was 3-4 with a 4.41 ERA in 1986, now working primarily in relief. He pitched in the first four games of the 1986 Japan Series but not the last four as Seibu beat the Hiroshima Carp; he gave up one run in 5 1/3 IP. He went 2-1 with five saves and a 2.00 ERA in 1987 and then allowed one run in two innings in the 1987 Japan Series, in which Seibu topped Yomiuri. Matsunuma allowed four hits and two runs in 1 2/3 IP in 1988 to end his playing career.
Overall, Matsunuma had gone 69-51 with 12 saves and a 3.61 ERA in 241 NPB games (149 starts). He had a .247 opponent average, 1.25 WHIP and 625 K in 1,142 1/3 IP. Through 2011, he was 59th in NPB history in winning percentage (between Fumio Narita and Motoshi Fujita) and tied for 91st in wins (10).