WBSC mourns passing of former NPB Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki, 80

WBSC mourns passing of former NPB Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki, 80
27/05/2022
He was instrumental to the success of the WBSC Premier12 and a key figure in the return of baseball to the Olympic programme at the Tokyo 2020 Games. He received the WBSC Order of the Honour Award in 2019.

Former Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki passed away at 80 on 13 May, news outlets in Japan reported today.

He became the 13th NPB Commissioner in 2014 and was instrumental in starting the operations that led to WBSC's inaugural professional national team global event, the Premier12 in 2015. Kumazaki is also regarded as a key figure in the return of baseball to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He served until 2017 when Atsushi Saito succeeded him.

"I am extremely saddened to learn of the passing of former NPB Commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. "He was a great leader, colleague and friend who helped lift international baseball and the WBSC to where they are today. From helping to launch the Premier12, WBSC’s biggest event, to supporting baseball’s Olympic return at the Tokyo 2020 Games, he touched our game profoundly and will be missed dearly."

In 2019, the WBSC awarded Kumazaki with the Order of the Honour Award, the supreme honour awarded to those persons who have acted in such a way as to illustrate the ideals of baseball/softball and their outstanding merits in favour of the development of our sport and who have rendered exceptional services to baseball/softball.

Kumazaki became a prosecutor in 1972. Later, he filled key posts, including chief of the special investigation unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.

Following his retirement as prosecutor in 2004, Kumazaki continued his career as a lawyer.