It was said that two particular occurrences put Furuya in a mentally uncomfortable state. First was the retiring of legendary pitcher Masayuki Kakefu. His sudden retirement was sort of a surprise, as it was expected he would at least finish the season. The decision was based on compounding injuries as well as the fact that he was no where near the same pitcher who is still considered one of the best to ever pitch for the franchise. That weighed on Furuya, who was disappointed over the fact he was unable to convince him to stay for the season.
The Randy Bass situation put the Hanshin Tigers in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Bass, being a foreign player, already had to deal with the issues with being an American born player playing in Japan. He had a lot of success, something that did not set well with a lot of the Japanese players, coaches, organizations and the media. Bass' son was diagnosed with brain cancer and the man wanted to return to the states to be with him. The Tigers chose to void Bass' contract after telling him he could not go. Bass was very close to Furuya and he did not necessarily agree with the view of the organization during this situation. The Tigers insisted they did not give Bass permission to return to the states, something Bass said was not true. If Bass did not receive permission to return home, it would be a breach of his contract. However, Bass produced a video of a conversation he had with a Hanshin VP, where he was given permission to return home to be with his family.
Distraught over both the Bass situation and the loss of Kakefu to retirement, Furuya decided to take his own life at age 56 by jumping out of an 8th story window. In spite of all his years with the Hanshin organization, he was only the GM for 40 days when he took his own life. Years later, it is hard to point to a direct reason why a man would do this. It is hard to imagine an American or National League GM getting bothered by events like this, especially to commit suicide. It is fair enough to say the customs of the Japanese Leagues and Japanese in general, are different. Perhaps Furuya felt he could not resign; not that he should have had to. He was not responsible for the Bass situation. He was not the one who promised Bass he would be ok going back home, nor was he the one who was responsible for the structure of his contract. Bass had signed a contract with Hanshin before the 1983 season and had been a top player in the league for the last several seasons.
Did he do it because his organization looked bad when they were proved to be lying? Did he do it because of his support of Bass? Or maybe he was the one who decided it was a breach of contract when Bass chose to go back home. Perhaps Furuya was the one who refused to let Bass return to the United States. And the video embarrassed him to a point where he could not cope. All in all, it brings important comparisons to the way Japanese sports executives view their jobs. In the United States, you get a new job if you cannot cope. In Japan, this solution could have been the only way out. Very sad to see a long time executive feel there was nothing more he could do. RIP.