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Kawai Matches Collins' 511 Sacrifices

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Kawai Matches Collins' 511 Sacrifices
For 21 years the Giants' Kawai Masahiro has been sacrificing himself so that other base runners may move along. And on August 10, 2003 against the Yakult Swallows, with his family in attendence, Kawai tied the world record of 511 sacrifices held by Eddie Colins [BaseballLibrary.com] who played from 1906 to 1030. (Unlike Otix Nixon in 1991, Kawai was very well aware of Collins' accomplishments.)

In the bottom of the 5th, with runners at first and second and nobody out, Kawai was brought in to pinch hit for the pitcher while losing 6-3. Everyone in the stadium knew that he was up there to sacrifice. The third and first baseman moved in to be in a better position to field the bunt. The battery knew to make the bunt as hard as possible. Still, Kawai laid the bunt down, it was fielding by the pitcher, and the only play was to first base. Sacrifice successful. (Nioka followed that with a two-run single to bring the Giants to within one run.)

Kawai sayed in the game, with his 13 year old son in the dugout ready with a bouquet of flowers for when the record was broken. While he had three more at bats in the almost 5 and a half hour game, none were with runners on base. He had to "settle" for two base hits and a strike out.

Nikkan Sports notes that all of the top five MLB players in sacrifice hits were from the first half of the 20th century. They also note many of Collins' accomplishments, such as hitting .300 or over for stints of 8 and 9 years in a row and stealing 6 bases in a game on two occasions.

Kawai lost his regular position status about 1998 and has become mainly a pinch bunter over the past couple of years. Yakult's shortstop, Miyamoto, is currently the top sacrifice bunter in the Central League. He has a career 229 sacrifices - a long way to go to join the exclusive 500 sacrifice club of Collins and Kawai.
Comments
Re: Kawai Matches Collins' 511 Sacrifices
[ Author: Guest: UMASS | Posted: Aug 12, 2003 10:49 AM ]

I rarely see sacrifice bunts in the Majors now. According to stats, which is better?
Kawai Sets New World Record
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Aug 20, 2003 9:07 PM | YBS Fan ]

This evening, August 20, 2003, Kawai hit his 512th career sacrifice bunt in the Giants' 3-0 shutout over the Yokohama BayStars to set a new world record.
Re: Kawai Sets New World Record
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Sep 3, 2003 9:52 PM ]

The World record also includes sac. flies. What's the percentage breakdown of Collin's record and Kawai's record of the number of bunts and sac. flies?

Speaking of records, congratulations to Akahoshi for breaking the Hanshin Tiger's team record for the most steals in a season, surpassing Yoshida. Yeah!
Re: Kawai Sets New World Record
[ Author: btimmer | Posted: Sep 16, 2003 11:40 AM ]

I would not think that Eddie Collins' sacrifice totals would have a significant amount of sacrifice flies. Fewer than 100.

The last MLBer to top 200 sacrifices in a career was Ozzie Smith. The current leader in sacrifices entering the season was Tom Glavine, a pitcher, with 168. Omar Vizquel led all position players with 160.
Re: Kawai Sets New World Record
[ Author: btimmer | Posted: Sep 16, 2003 4:11 PM ]

I would also note that Collins never once finished at the top of his league in sacrifices.

He finished second once, in 1923 with 39, one behind leader George Peckinpaugh.
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