Yuko Minamimura (Black Bat Minamimura)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 140 lb.
Outfielder Yuko Minamimura played for eight seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Minamimura won two Tokyo Big Six University League batting championships. After college, he played for Yokohama Kinko Club in the industrial leagues. He did not turn pro until age 33, when he hit .300/.345/.469 with 9 triples and 34 steals in 47 tries for the 1950 Nishi Nihon Pirates. Moving to the Yomiuri Giants in 1951, the Osaka native produced at a .283/.357/.369 rate and went 23-for-30 in steal attempts. He was an unstoppable force when Yomiuri won the first of its many Japan Series titles in 1951, going 9 for 16 with 4 walks, 4 doubles, 2 steals, 4 runs and 4 RBI in five games to beat the Nankai Hawks. He was named Series MVP.
Yuko hit .315/.375/.431 with 18 swipes in 26 tries in 1952. He made the Central League All-Star team and was 4th in average behind Michio Nishizawa, Wally Yonamine and Tetsuharu Kawakami. He made the Best Nine as one of the CL's top three outfielders, joined by Yonamine and Satoru Sugiyama. In the 1952 Japan Series, he hit .348/.444/.478 and Yomiuri again beat Nankai for the title.
In 1953, Minamimura was at .277/.321/.359 and stole 19 bases in 26 attempts. He still was an All-Star again and joined Yonamine and Masayasu Kaneda on the Best Nine. In the 1953 Japan Series, he was 9 for 26 with 3 walks, a double and a homer to continue his postseason stardom as Yomiuri took another championship, beating Nankai for the third straight year.
The old-timer produced at a .285/.335/.373 rate with 18 steals in 26 tries in 1954, making his last All-Star team, then fell to .252/.303/.309 and 13-for-15 in steals in 1955. He went 8 for 28 with 3 walks and two doubles in the 1955 Japan Series, in which Yomiuri again beat Nankai. By 1956, Minamimura was a bench player, going 22 for 94 with 6 doubles, a triple and 12 walks. He went 8 for 42 with a double, homer and walk in 1957 to end his career.
Minamimura had batted .283/.338/.382 in 774 games in NPB. He later was a baseball commentator, a Giants coach and worked for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He died on his 73rd birthday.
Source: Japan Baseball Daily