Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese player in Major League Baseball, was selected as the winner of academic body Nippon Sports Gakkai's grand prize for 2023 for his charitable works.

Former San Francisco Giant pitcher Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese to compete in Major League Baseball, throws the ceremonial first pitch prior to a game at Tokyo Dome on Aug. 4, 2022. (Kyodo)

Murakami pitched in 1964 and 1965 for the San Francisco Giants after the National League club purchased his contract from one of its affiliated minor league clubs, where he was playing on loan from Japan's Nankai Hawks.

The left-hander played in 54 games for San Francisco with a 5-1 record and nine saves before returning to Japan, where he won 103 games in a career lasting until 1982.

Since his retirement, Murakami has been active with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and became the first athlete to serve as a goodwill ambassador for the body.

The award will be presented in Tokyo on Jan. 22.



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