Shintaro Yokota, a former professional baseball player in Hanshin who had been battling illness since his playing days, died of a brain tumor on the morning of the 18th. He was 28 years old.
Yokota is from Kagoshima Prefecture and joined Hanshin from Kagoshima Jitsugyo in the second round of the 2013 draft.
In his third year as a professional, he started the season opener at the center, and was expected to be a candidate for the future center field.
However, he complained of headaches during spring camp in his fourth year as a pro and was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and although he tried to return to the game while battling the disease, he retired from active play in 3 at the age of 4.
Due to his illness, he entered the retirement game with the ball sometimes doubled, and his play in which he put a runner out with a good return ball from the center field was also called the "miracle back home" and was introduced in books.
After retiring, he returned to his hometown of Kagoshima and continued to perform to convey his experiences while visiting the hospital, but according to Hanshin, he died of brain cancer on the morning of the 18th.
He was 28 years old.
Joined Hanshin at the same time Ryutaro Umeno "Yokota's thoughts are always in me"
Ryutaro Umeno, who joined the team after being selected in the 2013 draft like Yokota, said, "He is a junior like a really friendly and interesting younger brother, who entered the professional world and started his professional baseball career with a pledge to 'let's do our best together,' and Yokota was impressive in the indoor practice field of the dormitory, and we fought together in the season when Yokota made his first professional start in the opening game. We are friends who have shared various feelings, both happy and regretful, so the first feeling is that we are truly disappointed. Yokota's unyielding attitude has strengthened my determination to fight through as a professional baseball player without giving up until the end, and with gratitude for being able to play baseball in this way, I want to keep Yokota's feelings in me and live my active life to the fullest."
Hanshin Hirata Coach: "I'm just lonely and frustrated"
Hanshin head coach Katsuo Hirata was the head coach of the second team in 2019 when Yokota retired.
Head Coach Hirata said, "I am lonely and frustrated when I hear the news of his passing, but Yokota has always been a player who has been working baseball since he joined the club, and even after he became ill, he came to Naruohama every day, every day, early in the morning, and cheered up the team more than anyone else on the bench, and Yokota's sincere attitude toward baseball is such that Yokota is committed to baseball. I think that the desire not to give up until the end gave birth to "Miraculous Back Home" in the end, and I don't know how to put into words that Yokota passed away at such a young age. I want to engrave Yokota's will firmly in my heart and carry it on to the Tigers."
Hanshin Coach Tanaka: "He was a dedicated-working child"
Shuta Tanaka, the infield defensive base coach of Hanshin's second team, was the scout in charge in 2.
Coach Tanaka said, "Yokota was a kid who worked harder in baseball than anyone else, and he fought hard against illness and never gave up until the end, so I hope he will rest in peace. and so on.