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Yukio Nishimura

 

Date and Place of Birth: November 10, 1910 Ujiyamada, Mie Prefecture, Japan
Date and Place of Death:    April 3, 1945 The Philippines
Baseball Experience: Japanese Professional Baseball
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Unknown
Military Unit: Unkown
Area Served: Pacific

In a brief but highly distinguished professional career, future Hall of Famer Yukio Nishimura earned a reputation as the "Giant Killer".

Yukio Nishimura was born on November 10, 1910 in Ujiyamada, Mie Prefecture, Japan. Nishimura started playing baseball in elementary school and quickly became a pitcher of some renown. He attended Ujiyamada Chugakkou high school and led the Kansai University baseball team to two Big Six pennants. It was while touring Hawaii with the Kansai University team that Nishimura met his future wife, Edith.

The right-hander played industrial league baseball with Aichi Denki Tetsudo before signing with the Osaka Tigers in 1937. During the spring season he made 19 appearances for a respectable 9-3 record and 2.24 ERA. In the fall season he really came into his own. Nishimura was 15-3 (tied for most wins) in 25 appearances and had a league-leading ERA of 1.48, helping the Tigers clinch the fall pennant.

That same year, Edith traveled from Hawaii to Japan to marry Yukio. Their daughter, Sachiko, was born on January 1, 1938.

Expectations of Nishimura for 1938 were high and he didn't dissapoint, escpecially when it came to games against the Tokyo Giants. With an uncanny ability to defeat the powerhouse team, Nishimura quickly earned the title "Giant Killer". During one stretch he defeated the Giants in nine straight games. In the spring 1938 campaign, Nishimura was 11-4 with a league- best 1.53 ERA, securing a second pennant for the Tigers. In the fall season he was 9-2 with a 2.48 ERA and the Tigers finished second to the Giants. Both teams then met in November/December to decide the 1938 league champion. The Tigers beat the Giants in a four game sweep.

In 1939, Nishimura suffered a shoulder injury that severely hampered his effectiveness. He was 11-9 with a 2.42 ERA in 29 games, marking the end of a brief but highly distinguished professional career.

The 29-year-old became an executive with a Japanese firm located in Manchuria, where he lived with his wife and four children, playing baseball with Shinkyo Den Den. Nishimura was drafted for military service in 1944. He left his family in Manchuria and they never saw or heard from him again. Yukio Nishimura died in combat in the Philippines on April 3, 1945.

It was not until Edith's return to Japan after the war had finished that she received confirmation of her husband's death. Edith and her daughters left Japan to return to her family in Hawaii. Nishimura's oldest daughter, Dr. Joyce S. Tsunoda, is currently senior Vice President and Chancellor for Community Colleges in the University of Hawaii system.

Yukio Nishimura was inducted in the Japanese Hall of Fame in 1977. A statue of Nishimura can be seen in Ise city, Japan.

Date Added: February 13, 2013

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