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Miyoshi Nakagawa

 

Date and Place of Birth: February 22, 1920 Tottori, Tottori Prefecture, Japan
Date and Place of Death:    July 12, 1944 off coast of Luzon, the Philippines
Baseball Experience: Japanese Professional League
Position: First Base/Pitcher
Rank: Unknown
Military Unit: Unknown
Area Served: Pacific

Pre-war Japanese baseball fans filled the stadiums to see the "tentacles of an octopus" as future Hall of Famer Miyoshi Nakagawa was known.

Miyoshi Nakagawa was born on February 22, 1920 in Tottori, Tottori Prefecture, Japan. He attended Tottori Number One Chukkaou high school and played with the school's baseball team in Koshien Tournaments in 1934 and 1936.

Nakagawa enrolled at Kansai University in 1937 but left in August to sign with the Eagles. The 5-foot-8, left-handed first baseman/pitcher played in all but one of the Eagles' fall season games and batted .248 with 22 RBIs. He made 20 appearances on the mound for a 13-5 record (second most wins in the league) and 2.05 ERA (third best in the league).

Despite his success as a pitcher, it was his outstanding defensive capabilities around first base that Nakagawa quickly gained reputation for. He became a crowd drawer wherever he played as pre-war baseball fans flocked to ball games to see the "tentacles of an octopus" handle just about anything that was thrown at him.

In the Spring 1938 season, Nakagawa played 32 games and batted .270 while posting a 3-1 record on the mound. In the Fall season he played 31 games and batted just .159 although he was 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA. The 19-year-old returned to form in 1939, playing 78 games and batting .282 while going 6-6 on the mound, despite the Eagles finishing in last place.

Nakagawa played 100 games of the 104-game 1940 season (following the outlawing of English in Japanese baseball in October 1940 the Eagles changed its name to Kurowashi) but hit a dissapointing .229 and was 7-15 on the mound. In 1941, he played 84 games and batted .236 with 27 RBIs while posting a 7-9 record and 2.32 ERA in 23 outings.

Octopus Nakagawa, the fans' favorite left baseball for military service after the 1941 season. He was killed off the coast of Luzon on July 12, 1944.

Nakagawa was elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986.

 

Date Added: February 13, 2013

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