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Tokyo Great to Manage National Team

December 3, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ Shigeo Nagashima, the popular former player and coach of the Yoimiuri Giants, has been chosen to manage Japan’s national baseball team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

The 66-year-old Nagashima, who retired from the Giants last year, had served as chief technical director for the national team since April.

He was tapped Monday to manage the Olympic squad by representatives of Japan’s leading baseball federations, said Kunio Shimoda, spokesman for the Japanese baseball commissioner.

Dubbed Mr. Giants, Nagashima led the Tokyo team to a stunning nine straight championship seasons during his 17 years as the Giants’ third-baseman.

Nagashima was also the Giants’ manager from 1975-1980, and from 1992-2001.

The Japanese national team will be selected next summer. Each of Japan’s 12 professional baseball teams can contribute up to two players.

But amateur players may also be tapped because Japan’s professional baseball season overlaps with the Athens Olympics in August.

Japan will need to qualify for Athens in an Asian regional qualifying tournament in November of 2003 in the northern city of Sapporo, but is expected to make it through without a problem.

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