The bespectacled Sugiura looked too frail to be an athlete, but proved talented and durable, going 27-12 in 1958 as a Japanese rookie. His .905 winning percentage (38-4) in 1959 is the highest in the history of baseball, Japanese or American, for a pitcher with more than 30 decisions. He followed in 1960 with a 31-11 mark, but slumped because of overwork in 1962 and 1963. He was 8-1 in 1965 when he suffered the arm blowout that eventually ended his career. He retired that fall after losing two games in the Japan Series, but was persuaded to come back, becoming an effective spot reliever.