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Old 08-18-2018, 10:02 PM
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nat nat is offline
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Default Motoshi Fujita

Motoshi Fujita had a short career (1957 to 1964) as a pitcher, and much later (1981 to 1983 and again 1989 to 1992) a manager. All of it was spent with the Giants and all of it was exceptionally successful. As a pitcher he went 119-88 with a 2.20 ERA. The teams that he managed went 516-361.

After attending Keio University Fujita went undrafted (despite considerable success in college), and so he went to play in the industrial leagues. After four years he was selected by the Giants. He broke into the big time at 25, winning the rookie of the year award, and the MVP in both 1958 and 1959.

During his playing days the Giants made the Japan Series five times (with two wins). After his retirement he was hired as a pitching coach, and served in that capacity while the Giants had their string of nine consecutive Japan Series victories. The Giants went 2-2 in the Japan Series when he helmed the team.

Fujita was a good pitcher, even a great one, but his career was short (due to injury) and his time at the top of his game even shorter. For hall-of-fame purposes, itís really only 1957-9 that make any difference. Itís clear that he wouldnít be a hall of famer but for his managing career. On the other hand, his managing career was also very short (although quite successful). I donít know how Japan treats its managers well enough to know if it would have qualified him for the hall, but Iím inclined to think not. He really seems to me like a hybrid candidate, who had to be (and was) excellent in both of his roles to make it.

It's hard to find an American player who is a good match for Fujita. Johan Santana is probably closest, although heís not really a good match, because Fujitaís managerial career is so important to his hall of fame case.

The card is from 1959. Itís a part of the JCM 31e set. It seems that I didnít take a picture of the back of the card, and I donít have it on hand at the moment. Also: who thought it was a good idea to have a pitcher pose with a bat? He's a pitcher guys, the man had a career batting average of .109.
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