- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 156 lb.
- High School Yao Chugakkou High School
- Born August 31, 1915 in Osaka, Japan
- Died December 27, 1990
Starting pitcher Yoshio Kikuya spent seven years in professional baseball, from 1936 to 1941 and in 1944. He was proficient at both low hits allowed and high walk totals.
He pitched for the Osaka Tigers in 1936, going 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings. He allowed only 11 hits, but surrendered 16 walks. In 1937, he was a combined 19-12 with 26 complete games, three shutouts and a 2.30 ERA in 45 games (31 starts) between Osaka, Dai Tokyo and Lion. In 298 innings, he struck out 141 batters, surrendered only 227 hits and walked 171 batters. He far and away led the Fall half of the season in walks, outpacing the number two pitcher, Toshihide Hatafuku, by 28. He finished second or third in many other categories, as well.
With Lion in 1938, he was 16-27 with 29 complete games, two shutouts and a 3.32 ERA in 51 games (39 starts). Pitching for the anemic Lion squad did not help his record at all -- they were 9-26 in the spring, with Kikuya absorbing 18 of those losses. The pitcher had nine more losses that spring than any other in the league and he also led the league in games started (21), hits allowed (158, 25 more than #2 Saburo Asaoka), runs allowed (117, 48 more than #2 Asaoka) and earned runs allowed (78, 33 more than #2 Asaoka). He also finished second in numerous categories and had the worst ERA among pitchers with more than 100 innings pitched (4.20, 38 points worse than Kozo Matsuo). Things were not so bad in the fall -- he led the league in batters faced (780) and finished second in some categories.
Back with Lion in 1939, Kikuya went 16-21 with 22 complete games and three shutouts in 55 games (39 starts). In 335 frames, he had 151 strikeouts, 277 hits allowed and 209 walks. Though he ranked among the leaders in multiple categories, he did not pace the loop in any of them. The 1940 Lion team was 24-76 and featured three 20 game losers: Isamu Fukushi (21 losses), Hisashi Kondo (22 losses) and, besting all of them, Kikuya, who was 8-27 with 19 complete games and a 2.77 ERA in 47 games (40 starts). In 286 innings, he surrendered 243 hits and 158 walks with only 112 Ks. Despite his high loss total, he did not lead the league (Masayoshi Nakayama had 29).
His playing career quickly dissolved after that. In 1941, he made a single start for Asashi; in 1944, he was 0-4 with a 5.67 ERA in 27 innings for them.
Overall, he was 60-91 with a 2.89 ERA in 210 games (157 starts). He also hit .213 /.257/.296 with seven home runs and 106 RBI. He was occasionally used in the outfield and as a pinch hitter.