Kinugasa made headlines wherever people follow baseball on June 13, 1987 when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game to break the record held for 48 years by New York Yankees great Lou Gehrig. A few weeks later, Kinugasa became the third Japanese player to crack 500 career home runs, following Sadaharu Oh and Katsuya Nomura. At long last he became a fan favorite, overcoming years of abuse endured because his father was a black American soldier. Kinugasa struck out often, in contrast to most Japanese players, and did not hit for a high average. Some typical Kinugasa seasons were 30 HR, 72 RBI, and .271 for Hiroshima’s 1979 pennant winners, and 20 HR, 57 RBI, and .278 for the 1981 winners.