In Memoriam ’23] Hiromitsu Kadota: “Don’t Hit Home Runs,” He Was Told…But He Continued to Swing Full Swing | FRIDAY DIGITAL

In Memoriam ’23] Hiromitsu Kadota: “Don’t Hit Home Runs,” He Was Told…But He Continued to Swing Full Swing

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Mr. Kadota was interviewed by this magazine in July 2006.

It was on January 24 that Hiromitsu Kadota (74), who hit a total of 567 homers, the third highest in history behind Sadaharu Oh and Katsuya Nomura, and was active with the Nankai and Orix teams, was found dead. The day before this, he had failed to show up for his outpatient treatment, so the hospital called the police, who found him collapsed in his home.

Mr. Kadota was born in 1948.’ He was drafted second overall by the Nankai Hawks in 1969 and entered the professional ranks. In his second year as a professional, he grabbed a regular spot at No. 3 and was selected as one of the best nine players with a batting average over 30%. However, he often clashed with Katsuya Nomura, the Hawks’ championship manager at the time. In an interview conducted by this magazine in July 2006, he said the following.

He used to give me a lot of criticism. He said, “You swing too hard,” and, “You don’t have to hit home runs. You don’t have to hit a home run. You have to get on base before me, whether it’s a walk or a hit. That’s your job.

When I first joined the team, I was batting third and he was batting fourth. If I hit home runs, he would say, “Don’t hit because you won’t be able to score runs. He always put himself first. There were a lot of players like that in the Pacific League, especially in the Kansai area.

Mr. Kadota’s real strength was his powerful home run with a full swing. Mr. Nomura constantly warned him to stop swinging so hard, but Kadota ignored him and stuck to his own style. After Mr. Nomura dismissed him as manager in 1977, he continued his path as a long-distance hitter, batting fourth. However, he ruptured his Achilles tendon during practice in the spring camp of ’79 and lost a season. At the time, it was said that it would be difficult for him to return to active baseball.

The following year, the opening game was against Kintetsu at Nissei Stadium. The manager at the time, Yoshinori Hirose, told me, ‘Cado will be removed from the starting lineup,’ but I bowed down and asked him to use him. Please use him. Please give me this game. If I didn’t make it in this game, I didn’t care if I had to bat in place of him or be sent down to the second team.

I entered the game as the designated hitter, batting sixth against ace Keiji Suzuki. When I got to 3 balls in the first at bat, I knew that a straight ball would come next. Sure enough, it was a fastball down the middle. The full-swinging pitch was a home run …… that turned the game around. I was so happy. After the game, I remember walking home from the nearest station to my house with tears streaming down my face and singing a crazy song like, “This is the beauty of being a man. I was so happy to hear that I had made a comeback,” he said.

Kadota-san made a splendid comeback and continued to play an active role as the “Hawks’ No. 4. In 1988, at the age of 40, he played in every game for the first time. The word “Fuwaku,” meaning “40,” became a popular word that year.

Unfortunately, the year Kadota set his record, the Nankai Hawks were acquired by the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. Kadota was transferred to the Orix, but he continued to play an active role that would have been hard to believe he was in his 40s until he put down the bat in 1992.

After retiring, he worked as a baseball commentator for a time, but he seemed to have a long battle with diabetes and other ailments.’ In an interview with “SPA!” in 2010, he revealed that although he had been temperate during his active career, he had no friends after he retired and his drinking had increased considerably.

He thought he could be alone in the world of competition and didn’t let anyone get to him. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to connect with people after I retire. I don’t have anyone to talk to. ……

Like his batting style, Mr. Kadota always continued to fight with a full swing. May he rest in peace.

On June 7, 1991, while with Daiei, he became the third player in history to hit a home run with a total of 550 (photo/joint).
In October 1988, at the farewell party held by the Nankai Hawks Supporters Association. Mr. Kadota looks somewhat sad. At that time, he had volunteered to be traded because the team was relocating to Fukuoka.
  • PHOTO Kei Kato (1st), Ryu Kanzaki (3rd)

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