Tag Archives: Yakult Swallows

Yasuda passes away at 73

Yakult Swallows stalwart Takeshi Yasuda

Former Yakult Swallows pitcher Takeshi Yasuda passed away on Saturday at the age of 73 from stomach cancer. I saw Yasuda a few times on the sidelines as a Swallows coach in the early 1990s when I spent a lot of time at Jingu Stadium in the company of a couple of colleagues who were Swallows fans, having joined our company from Yakult.

While the names of other veteran pitchers and players might draw a nod, Yasuda’s name always brought a smile to their faces. I’d never seen video of him until I found the Youtube clip about him above.

In Sunday’s news in Japan, I learned that the side-armer was known for his “penguin” pitching style. In 1983, he set an NPB record by not walking a batter over 81 consecutive innings. Although his battles against left-handed hitting Giants slugger Sadaharu Oh were famous, Oh surpassed Hank Aaron’s career total with his 756th in 1977, and hit No. 757 off the Swallows lefty (thanks to Dave @npbcardguy for that catch).

The Central League’s 1972 rookie of the year, Yasuda attended Waseda University, but played corporate league ball before turning pro and led the CL in ERA in his first two seasons. He was a typical front-line pitcher of that era, starting about half his games, and completing nearly half of his starts while also coming out of the bullpen in high-leverage situations.

Robert Whiting Live chat

On Monday, February 15, non-fiction author Robert Whiting joined in for a live chat with website subscribers, during which we learned that his memoirs “Tokyo Junkie” can now be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Also joining in as a surprise participant was former Lotte Orion, Taiyo Whales, and Yakult Swallows star Leon Lee, who talks about his times in Japan as a player, manager of the Orix BlueWave, and as Pacific Rim scout for the Chicago Cubs.

Want to hear how Lee got a raise by practicing less? Listen in. There may be a one-hour limit to zoom video’s

All free and paid subscribers are eligible to participate. My thanks to all who joined.

Live chat with Robert Whiting and Leon Lee

I’ve posted the videos and some other stuff that came out in the chat, broken down by topic.