Michio Nishizawa

Nishizawa was one of the most popular players Japan ever had, despite playing for the lackluster Chunichi Dragons. He rose to stardom as a pitcher in Japanese baseball’s early years, but injured his arm during two years of WWII service. Despite a .196 batting average at that point, he became a position player. Demonstrating exceptional desire and dedication, he won a regular job by lifting his average into the .260 range. In 1949, while batting .309 with 114 RBI, he hit 37 home runs, which would have been a Japanese record had not Tomio Fujimura hit 45 that season. In 1950, Nishizawa topped Fujimura with 46 HR. Age and injuries slowed him some thereafter, but he batted .353 in 1952, and remained a solid-hitting regular and an RBI threat until his retirement. He later managed Chunichi.