Rikuo Nemoto (根本 陸夫)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 140 lb.
- School Nihon University, Hosei University
- High School Ibaraki High School, The Third High School of Nihon University
Rikuo Nemoto managed in Nippon Pro Baseball for 11 years.
Nemoto was signed by the Kintetsu Pearls in 1952. He only played 46 games in his his rookie year, and secured the starting catcher spot in 1953. He played 110 games with a .206/.250/.230 batting line. However, due to his poor batting, Fukuzo Tada took his spot the next season and Nemoto only played 30 more games with the big club the rest of his career. He announced his retirement after the 1957 season, and became a coach.
The Ibaraki native was a scout for the Kintetsu Buffaloes from 1958 to 1966, then transferred to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 1967. Nemoto was their coach that season, then succeeded Ryohei Hasegawa to become the manager of the Carp. Since the Carp was weak, Nemoto focused on enhancing young players and discovering prospects. He acquired veteran Kazuhiro Yamauchi to lead the young Carp, and also found talented young pitchers Yoshiro Sotokoba and Sohachi Aniya from the NPB Farm Leagues. He led the Carp to advance to the A-Class (top half of the Central League) for the first time in their team history in 1968. However, Nemoto couldn't help the Carp win their first pennant (the Yomiuri Giants had the best dynasty in NPB annals), and he left the team after the Carp had a .356 winning percentage after the first 50 games in 1972.
Nemoto then became a broadcaster for Asahi from 1973 to 1977. The Crown Lighter Lions hired him as their new manager in 1978. Although Nemoto was unable to lead the Lions had a good win-lose record, he still found some talented prospects from the ni-gun like Yoshiie Tachibana. Nemoto left the manager spot in 1981, and became the General Manager for the Lions.
Nemoto was called "Magician Nemoto" because he had many creative move as a GM, and he had a good ability to find talented prospects. He used the Industrial League team of Seibu - the Prince Hotel - to attract young players. Two players who were picked in the 1980 NPB draft - Kazuaki Kawamura by the Hankyu and Ikuo Takayama by the Nippon-Ham was persuaded by Nemoto and decided to join Prince Hotel instead. He also let Ryoji Moriyama dropped out from college so that other teams won't notice him. He drafted some solid players like Tsutomu Ito, Hiromichi Ishige and Kazuhiro Kiyohara.
The Daiei Hawks hired Nemoto as their manager in 1993. He led them had the first above .500 winning percentage season since 1978, then Sadaharu Oh succeeded him in 1996 because he was named the new GM of the Hawks. He drafted many future all-stars like Kenji Johjima, Hiroki Kokubo, Masao Fujii, Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Hiroshi Shibahara and Takayuki Shinohara. They helped the Hawks won their first pennant after transferring to Fukuoka. Nemoto passed away due to heart attack in 1999, and he was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Overall, Nemoto hit .189/.237/.230 in 4 years in NPB. He was 598-687-66 as a manager in 11 seasons.