Tsuguo Goto (Kuma-san - Bear) (後藤 次男)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 156 lb.
Tsuguo Goto played, coached and managed in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Goto played for Kumamoto Tetsudo Kanrikyoku in the industrial leagues after college. He debuted as a pro with the Osaka Tigers in 1948, hitting .252/.274/.333 with 27 steals in 33 tries. Playing mostly second base, he had 32 errors. His 129 hits were a Tigers franchise rookie record until Tomochika Tsuboi passed him 50 years later. Goto moved to center field and the third spot in the lineup in 1949 and blossomed, batting .300/.330/.414 with 87 runs and 29 swipes in 41 tries. He was 4th in the Japanese Professional Baseball League in steals (between Tokuzo Harada and Hiroshi Oshita) and missed the top 10 in average by .005.
The Kumamoto native hit .322/.346/.488 with 15 home runs, 91 runs and 79 RBI in 1950 though his steal rate fell (17-for-31). He set NPB records (since broken) with 8 hits in consecutive at-bats and 25 consecutive total bases without being retired. He was 7th in the new Central League in average (between Kiyoshi Ozawa and Yoshiyuki Iwamoto) and 3rd in caught stealing.
In 1951, Goto had another strong season - .309/.335/.440, 77 R, 75 RBI, 13 HR. He was on the CL leaderboards for average (9th, between Noboru Aota and Mitsuo Uno), runs (8th, between Saburo Hirai and Tetsuharu Kawakami), hits (155, 1st, 7 over Iwamoto), doubles (23, tied for 7th with Masayasu Kaneda), home runs (tied for 10th with Isao Mimura), RBI (6th, between Kawakami and Harada) and double play grounders (22, 1st, two more than Kazuo Satakae).
Switching positions again, he became a first baseman in 1952 and produced at a .300/.334/.392 clip. His homer total fell to 3 but he hit 28 doubles. He scored 75 runs. In his last big year, he tied Isamu Fujii for 9th in runs, second in hits (161, two behind Wally Yonamine), tied Kawakami and Tamaichi Yasui for 4th in doubles, tied Harada and Hirai for 3rd in triples, second in caught stealing (15 to 19 SB, 5 behind Jiro Kanayama, who had 44 more steals), was second with 18 double play grounders (one behind Iwamoto) and 9th in average (between Toshimichi Kunieda and Yasui).
He was hitting .276/.298/.363 after 96 games in 1953 when he fractured his shoulder; he missed that year and all of 1954. When he returned, he was not the same player. He hit .224/.228/.276 in 158 plate appearances (69 games) in 1955, .184/.228/.190 with one run in 87 games and 160 PA in 1956 and .232/.278/.268 in 151 PA and 84 games in 1957.
Overall, he had hit .283/.310/.385 with 424 runs and 355 RBI in 949 games.
He was hitting coach for the Tigers in 1958 and managed for them in the minors in 1959. He was a newspaper, TV and radio commentator from 1960-1965. He was hitting coach for Hanshin in 1966-1967 and head coach in 1968. He replaced Sadayoshi Fujimoto as the Tigers' skipper in 1969 and lasted one season (68-53-3), despite a strong second-place finish. Minoru Murayama replaced him. He was a commentator for Sun TV from 1970-1977. The Tigers then brought him back as manager again, succeeding Yoshio Yoshida, and the team finished a distant last (41-80-9). Don Blasingame replaced him at the reigns. He was a commentator for Sun TV again from 1979-1990.