Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wally Yonamine 1925-2011

There are several more bespectacled superstars residing in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame than in it's counterpart in Cooperstown, but only one was American born and a former pro football player: Wally Yonamine.

He died Monday at the age of 85. Unlike the bespectacled Hall of Famer on this side of the Pacific, Chick Hafey, whose sinus infections kept him from collecting the numbers he could have, Wally was famous for a hard nosed, rough-and-tumble style of play that made him few friends in Japan's Central League. And as a manager (above) he became the first foreign born manager to win a Japan Series title, balancing that image of the gruff baserunner with that of the bespectacled manager crunching the numbers and filling out line-up cards. After baseball he ran a successful pearl shop in Tokyo, allowing his glasses clad image to finally take over and allow his sensitive side to shine through. Chick Hafey would have been proud. Look here for more information on Wally and his life.

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