Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame reveals Class of 2021

The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed two more members on Thursday, with Katsuji Kawashima, who managed Japan during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and author Kazuo Sayama making up the class of 2021.

Both were selected as part of the special committee.

“This is a great honor for me,” Kawashima said. “I’m very grateful for the support of the leaders who raised me as a player in high school and college and the teammates who competed with me and the players and staff who fought with me as a manager.”

No one was chosen from the Players Selection Committee for the second year in a row. There was also no one elected from the Expert Committee. The last time no one was selected from either committee was in 1998.

Former NPB and MLB pitcher — and current Tokyo Yakult Swallows manager — Shingo Takatsu was closest to the 75% threshold for induction in the Players Selection Committee, falling 10 votes short of the 269 he needed and finishing with 72.3%. Former Chunichi Dragons pitcher Masa Yamamoto finished with 68.2%. Slugger Alex Ramirez finished at 65.1% and was the only other person above 60%.

Tuffy Rhodes went the wrong way in the balloting this year, finishing at 17% with 61 votes. Rhodes, who is 13th on the NPB career list with 464 home runs and 21st with 1,269 RBIs, was at 28.8 percent in 2020.

Celebrated Hanshin Tigers great Randy Bass was at 70.9% on the experts’ ballot and was the only person above 60%.

Kawashima easily cleared the threshold for induction on the special committee with 13 out of 14 votes.

He graduated from Chuo University and spent his playing career in the industrial leagues. He also managed in the industrial leagues.

Kawashima led the national team team at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, where Japan defeated the United States in the semifinals before losing to Cuba in the final and settling for a silver medal.

Sayama gained induction with 12 votes.

“First of all, I’m very surprised,” he said. “After that, I just feel gratitude.

Sayama has written a number of books on baseball, some of which have also been translated into English. Sayama is also a member of The Society for American Baseball Research.

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