Katsuya Nomura

Nomura was the winner of nine consecutive home run titles in Japan from 1962 through 1971, but his slugging feats were tainted by the small size of his home park, Nankai’s Osaka Stadium – 280 feet down the lines, 350 feet to centerfield. Consistent and durable, he often caught every game of the season. He recorded career highs of 52 HR and 135 RBI in 1963. In 1966, he convinced pitcher Masanori Murakami to return to Nankai after Murakami’s successful 1965 season with the San Francisco Giants; for that, Nomura became a national hero. He served as Nankai’s player-manager late in his career, and played 28 years, the longest career of any Japanese player.