Akinobu Mayumi

Name (Japanese): 真弓 明信

Hometown: Ohmuta City, Fukuoka

Date of Birth: July 12, 1953

Position: Outfield, Shortstop, Second Base

Height: 174 cm (5’9”)

Weight: 75 kg (165 lb)

Threw/Batted: Right/Right

Wore #: 2, 42 (Lions), 7 (Tigers player), 75 (Buffaloes manager), 72 (Tigers manager)

Drafted by: Taiheiyo Lions, 1972 (Round 3)

Made Tigers Debut on: April 7, 1979

Played Final Game on: October 6, 1995

Manager Career: Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes (2000-04, Hitting Coach), Hanshin Tigers (2009-11, Manager)

Career Awards/Achievements: Top Batter (1983); All-Pacific League Team (1978); All-Central League Team (1983, 85); Nippon Series Outstanding Player (1985); CL Player of the Month (Sept 1985); Most Leadoff HRs in CL History (38); Most Pinch Hit RBIs in a Season (1994 – 30); All-Star Game (1978, 1980-82, 1985-88, 1991)

Career Stats:

Year Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
1973 Taiheiyo/Crown 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1974 Taiheiyo/Crown 23 10 4 2 0 0 0 0 1 5 1 1 .200 .273 .200 .473
1975 Taiheiyo/Crown 78 61 16 19 2 0 1 8 5 6 5 4 .311 .364 .393 .757
1976 Taiheiyo/Crown 18 36 2 4 1 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 .111 .135 .139 .274
1977 Taiheiyo/Crown 116 276 37 72 9 1 6 14 8 35 21 8 .261 .280 .366 .646
1978 Taiheiyo/Crown 118 418 68 117 13 3 8 38 21 42 34 5 .280 .314 .383 .696
1979 Hanshin 125 517 55 142 15 3 13 51 38 84 20 14 .275 .321 .391 .711
1980 Hanshin 113 459 79 131 15 4 29 74 42 66 20 5 .285 .343 .525 .868
1981 Hanshin 111 444 64 121 15 3 13 36 45 48 26 7 .273 .335 .408 .742
1982 Hanshin 130 515 75 151 21 2 15 55 32 68 11 5 .293 .328 .429 .758
1983 Hanshin 112 448 77 158 22 3 23 77 44 54 13 7 .353 .402 .569 .971
1984 Hanshin 117 430 69 123 22 5 27 64 44 69 15 3 .286 .344 .549 .893
1985 Hanshin 119 497 108 160 32 2 34 84 59 52 8 5 .322 .392 .600 .991
1986 Hanshin 123 512 78 157 31 2 28 60 46 77 9 1 .307 .362 .539 .901
1987 Hanshin 119 455 60 123 18 1 23 53 47 55 4 3 .270 .334 .466 .800
1988 Hanshin 130 478 45 129 17 0 17 67 34 85 7 3 .270 .314 .412 .726
1989 Hanshin 95 279 36 69 8 1 16 37 33 52 2 1 .247 .322 .455 .777
1990 Hanshin 79 247 32 75 10 0 17 49 27 43 3 0 .304 .362 .551 .913
1991 Hanshin 102 288 38 77 9 0 17 61 31 46 1 0 .267 .335 .476 .811
1992 Hanshin 68 101 7 21 2 0 1 12 8 22 0 0 .208 .248 .257 .505
1993 Hanshin 63 63 2 14 1 0 2 10 5 19 0 0 .222 .286 .333 .619
1994 Hanshin 65 63 5 17 3 0 2 30 9 13 0 0 .270 .329 .413 .742
1995 Hanshin 25 27 0 6 0 0 0 4 4 9 0 1 .222 .313 .222 .535
NPB Career 2051 6624 957 1888 266 30 292 886 584 953 200 73 .285 .338 .466 .805


Biography
:

Akinobu Mayumi was born on July 12, 1953 in Kumamoto, but moved to Fukuoka when he was young. Reports say he got interested in baseball when the local high school team, coached by current Yomiuri Giants’ ace Tomoyuki Sugano’s grandfather, won the summer tournament at Koshien when he was 12 years old. He joined his school team in junior high and excelled at two sports (baseball and track & field). In high school, despite playing for a strong school, he never made it to the national tournament. Instead of going to university, Mayumi went directly into industrial league baseball, playing there for two years, at which time he was chosen by the Nishitetsu Lions (a local Kyushu team) in the third round of the 1972 draft.

The team changed its ownership in 1973, his first year with the team, becoming the Taiheiyo Club Lions. In his first game, he played the 9th inning at shortstop, but had no balls hit to him. His next game saw him commit one error (and possibly another, but in the record books it went down as an infield hit). He was sent to the farm, and in July of that year, made his way to Lodi, California, to play for the Class-A Lodi Lions (now the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – affiliated with the LA Dodgers). He stayed there for three months, during which time he acquired the nickname “Joe” (apparently because “Mayumi” was hard for Americans to pronounce).

The following season, he collected his first professional hit back with the Lions, but he did not find a permanent spot on the top roster until the 1975 season, in which he hit his first career home run. However, he didn’t see full-time playing time until the 1977 season, and really hit his stride the following year, when he was named to the all-star team (at shortstop), and was also selected to the all-Pacific League team at season’s end.

However, that offseason, he became involved in a major trade: Hanshin would send super-slugging catcher Koichi Tabuchi to the Lions (who moved to Saitama the next year) among others, in exchange for several players, including Mayumi. He would immediately become the team’s leadoff hitter, filling the gap at shortstop. He started to really develop his power game with Hanshin, and hit for the cycle on May 20 of his first year with the team.

Mayumi really made his mark on the game in the 1980s, though. He started launching leadoff home runs at an incredible pace, and finished 5th in the league with 29 home runs in 1980. Among those home runs were leadoff homers in both halves of a double header against the Chunichi Dragons in October. Injury would slow him down in 1981, but he bounced back with a fairly strong season in 1982, ending the year with the league’s 10th highest batting average.

A midseason injury to Akinobu Okada in 1983 resulted in Mayumi sliding over to second base for much of the year, and Mayumi responded by winning the batting title with a .353 average. Despite manager Motoh Andoh recommending he take the final 10 games off to ensure the title remain his, Mayumi continued to play and hit. He would earn all-Central League team honors at season’s end for his superior average and leadoff presence. Upon Okada’s return in 1984, he was relegated to the outfield, so Mayumi remained at second base. That season, he would pick up his 1000th career hit and also play in his 1000th career game.

Despite an injury in 1985 (he fractured his collar bone in a home plate collision in June, missing a month of play), it was a banner year for Mayumi. He would finish the season with 34 home runs, 84 RBIs, and another All-Central League team selection – all while taking on a new position to allow Okada to return to second base. Mayumi would spend much of the rest of his career in right field. (His third All-League Team, a.k.a. Best Nine, at a third different position, made him just the second player in NPB history to achieve this incredible feat. The first was legend Hiromitsu Ochiai.) The season would only get better for Mayumi, though, as he would hit a team-best .360 with two home runs in the Nippon Series, earning him the Outstanding Player Award. (This is not to be mistaken for the MVP, which went to Randy Bass.)

He continued to romp through the 1980s, hitting 28 more bombs in 1986, including 5 straight games with round-trippers. He hit the last leadoff home run of his career in 1987, putting him second all-time (with 41), just two behind all-time great Yutaka Fukumoto (Hankyu Braves). By decade’s end, Mayumi had over 250 home runs to his name and was seen as one of the greatest leadoff men in Japanese baseball history.

In the twilight years of his career, Mayumi was used primarily as a pinch hitter. His ability to hit the long ball when needed most etched a permanent mark on fans’ hearts. In 1994, he would set a record for pinch hit RBIs in a single season: an incredible 30 on just 17 hits. After being used sparingly in 1995, Hanshin offered to give Mayumi a proper retirement ceremony towards season’s end, but he wanted to continue playing. Negotiations with the club did not result in a contract for him, and no other teams expressed an interest in signing him (he was, after all, 42 years old at this point), so he was forced into retirement before he was ready.

Mayumi took to the broadcasting booth and was a newspaper columnist for several years before joining the Kintetsu Buffaloes as hitting coach in 2000. He remained there for 5 seasons, but was forced out when the club merged with the Orix Blue Wave franchise. He returned to broadcasting and writing until after the 2008 season, when he was hired to replace Okada as Hanshin manager. Mayumi did not fare terribly well and often was the brunt of media and fan criticism for his in-game decisions. Despite being at the helm of the 2010 team that hit a collective .2895 (best mark for Hanshin in the two-league era), had 5 guys hit over .300, 5 guys with 90+ RBIs (including 3 with over 100), and a CL-record 1458 hits, the club sputtered down the stretch and finished in second place. After the 2011 season, in which the team finished a disappointing 4th place, Mayumi was asked to step down as manager. Currently, Mayumi occasionally works the broadcasting booth and continues to write a column for Nikkan Sports.


Another good English article can be found at Baseball-Reference.com

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