Don Blasingame, 73; Major Leaguer Later Managed Teams in Japan

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Don Blasingame, 73, a former major league baseball player who forged a career as a manager in Japan after his playing days, died Wednesday of heart failure at his home in Fountain Hills, Ariz.

A native of Corinth, Miss., Blasingame was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent before the 1953 season. He played as an infielder for 12 years in the majors starting in 1955 with teams including the Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Senators and Kansas City Athletics.

He joined Japan’s now defunct Nankai Hawks in 1967, playing for three years, then becoming a coach for the team, a position he held until 1977.

Blasingame then moved to the Hiroshima Carp for a one-year stint as manager in 1978. Between 1979 and 1980, he managed the Hanshin Tigers. He then returned to manage the Nankai Hawks in 1981 and 1982.

As manager of the two teams in Japan, Blasingame had a record of 180 wins, 208 losses and 28 draws.