Mutsuo Minagawa

From BR Bullpen

Mutsuo Minagawa

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 162 lb.

Mutsuo Minagawa was a long-time hurler for the Nankai Hawks. He was a six-time All-Star who was arguably his league's top pitcher one year.

Minagawa debuted in 1954, going 0-3 with a 3.00 in 10 outings. In 1955, he allowed one run in 6 2/3 IP. In 1956, the young right-hander blossomed, appearing in 60 games. He walked 31 in 190 2/3 IP and went 11-10 with a 2.17 ERA.

In 1957, Minagawa improved to 18-10 though his ERA rose to 2.36. He was 7th in the Pacific League in ERA. He had a 17-8, 1.83 record in 1958 and made his first All-Star team. In 230 2/3 innings, he walked 46 and gave up 172 hits. He finished second in ERA behind Kazuhisa Inao.

Minagawa went 10-6 with a 1.92 ERA in 1959 with a WHIP again under 1. He pitched only one inning in the 1959 Japan Series, allowing one run, as Tadashi Sugiura pitched 32 of Nankai's 37 innings in the Series. In 1960, Mutsuo went 11-8 with a 2.89 ERA.

Minagawa had a 16-7, 1.97 record in 1961, giving up 142 hits and 38 walks in 177 1/3 IP. He was 0-1 with a 2.92 ERA in the 1961 Japan Series, losing to the Yomiuri Giants in game two. In 1962, he walked only 33 in 212 1/3 IP, going 19-4 with a 2.49 ERA. He finished 7th in the PL in ERA. He went 12-9 in 1963 with 33 walks in 188 innings and a 2.54 ERA.

In 1964, Mutsuo went 7-5 with a 2.91 ERA in 52 games. He allowed 3 runs in 6 innings in the 1964 Japan Series, losing game five. In 1965, he was 14-10 with a 2.63 ERA and finished 8th in the league in ERA. He made his second All-Star team.

Minagawa was 18-7 with a 2.12 ERA for the Hawks in 1966, walking only 34 in 212 innings. He was 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA in the 1966 Japan Series, losing both games 4 and 6 to Yomiuri as Nankai fell in six. He made his third All-Star team that year.

In 1967, Minagawa went 17-13 with 255 2/3 innings, giving up only 215 hits. He had a 2.29 ERA and made the All-Star team. He was 5th in the league in ERA.

Minagawa had a career year in 1968, appearing in 352 1/3 innings over 56 games. He went 31-10 with only 256 hits allowed and 63 walks. He led the Pacific League in both wins (only 2 ahead of Tetsuya Yoneda) and ERA (.77 over Masanori Murakami. Minagawa paced the league as well in complete games (27) and shutouts (8, one more than Keishi Suzuki). He made his 5th All-Star squad. He was named to the Best Nine as the top hurler in the Pacific League but Yoneda beat him out for MVP honors and Yutaka Enatsu won the Sawamura Award.

In 1969, Minagawa was back down to 134 1/3 innings. His record fell to 5-14, 2.62. He was 9-10 with a 3.79 ERA in 1970 but made his final All-Star team. He finished up in 1971, going 6-5 with a 4.27 ERA.

Overall, Minagawa was 221-139 with a 2.42 ERA in 759 games in Nippon Pro Baseball. In 3,158 innings, he allowed 2,704 hits and 633 walks. His 200 wins earned him entrance into the meikyukai. Through 2008, Minagawa was among NPB's career leaders in wins (15th), shutouts (37, tied with Tsuneo Horiuchi for 29th), games pitched (6th), innings (20th) and ERA (12th).

After retirement, Minagawa coached for Yomiuri, the Hanshin Tigers and Kintetsu Buffaloes and also worked as a commentator. While coaching for Yomiuri, Minagawa got into a conflict with pitcher Luis Sánchez, who once threw a ball at him and also called him dumb. He also did not get along well with Takashi Nishimoto, who wound up leaving the team to become a star again elsewhere.

Minagawa was voted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011, alongside Hiromitsu Ochiai.

Sources: Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland,