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Lenn Sakata
Second baseman
Born: June 8, 1954 (1954-06-08) (age 55)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
June 21, 1977 for the Milwaukee Brewers
Last MLB appearance
June 28, 1987 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average     .230
Home runs     25
Runs batted in     109
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Lenn Haruki Sakata (born June 8, 1954 in Honolulu, Hawaii), is a former professional baseball player who played in the Major Leagues primarily as a utility player from 1977-1987 and was a member of the Baltimore Orioles 1983 World Series Championship team. He was the second Asian-American to play Major League Baseball[1]. Sakata graduated from Kalani High School in 1971. Sakata played college baseball for Gonzaga University, in Spokane, Washington.

Sakata was the starting shortstop for the Orioles when Cal Ripken, Jr. began his consecutive games played streak.

Sakata was the catcher (a position he did not usually play) when Tippy Martinez picked off three Toronto Blue Jays off first base in the tenth inning of the August 24, 1983 game at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. The Orioles had replaced their starting catcher and his backup while rallying to tie the game in the ninth inning. Three consecutive Blue Jays hitters reached first base and each one, thinking it would be easy to steal a base on Sakata, took a big lead. Martinez picked off all three base runners. Sakata hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth to win the game.[2]

After his playing career ended, Sakata began coaching in the minor league system. He has served as manager of the Modesto A's (1989), San Jose Giants (1999, 2001, 2004-2007), Bakersfield Blaze (2000), and Fresno Grizzlies (2002). On May 31, 2007 Sakata notched his 527th victory as a California League manager, setting the record for lifetime wins. Sakata became the farm team manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan in 2008.[2]

Sakata was selected by CNN Sports Illustrated as one of the 50 greatest sports figures in Hawai'i history[3] and is a member of the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame located in the Bishop Museum. Sakata owns a small chain of high-end independent grocery stores in the Fresno, California area.

Hitting Statistics

  • 565 Games
  • 296 Hits
  • 25 Home Runs
  • 109 RBIs
  • .230 Batting Average

Sources

References

  1. ^ Seattle Mariners' Manager Sees Chance to Highlight his Past NY Times, December 27, 2008
  2. ^ a b Lefton, Brad (June 16, 2009). "Lenn Sakata doesn't expect to see more Japanese-American managers any time soon". The Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariners/2009341304_sakata16.html. Retrieved 2009-09-14.  
  3. ^ "The 50 Greatest Hawaii Sports Figures". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/hawaii/greatest/. Retrieved 2009-09-14.  
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