Hall of Fame: Lawrence Yoshio “Peanuts” Kunihisa (1932)

Considering his small stature – 5’1”tall and about 125 pounds at his heaviest – Peanuts is probably the greatest all-around high school athlete, pound for pound, Hawaii has ever produced. Exceptionally gifted, he won nine letters in football, track, baseball and swimming.This article appears as originally published in the Summer 1982 issue of the Punahou Bulletin.

In football, at 5’0” and 118 pounds he made the varsity squad in his junior year. Then, in his senior year, at 5’1” and a hefty 122 pounds, he was named ILH All-Star First Team quarterback!

A track standout, he consistently placed among the top finishers in the sprints (100 and 200 yards), hurdles, relays and broad-jumps; always good for 7 to 10 points. His incredibly fast starting ability led to a timing of his performance in a special 60-yard dash. Four watches clocked him at 6.1 and one watch at 6.2. At that time the world’s record was 6.1 – he had tied it! Unfortunately his time was not recognized because of a following breeze which was judged to be slightly over the allowable limit. In any event – a fantastic performance for a high school athlete!

Baseball was Peanuts’ real forte. A four-year letterman at shortstop, he started his career in his freshman year by hitting .571 and winning the ILH batting title and All-Star First team honors. A batting slump in his sophomore year relegated him to the All-Star Second Team. Shortlived, this was followed by All-Star First Team honors in both his junior and senior years when he again was batting champ. He also played regular shortstop for the Wanderers in the Hawaii Senior Baseball League in his junior and senior years.

Following graduation, Peanuts played 24 years in the Hawaii Baseball League; four years for the Wanderers, 11 years for the Asahis; and nine years for the Rural Red Sox which he founded and led to seven consecutive league championships. During this period he won All-Star honors 17 times, was batting champ twice, and was twice selected as a member of the Hawaii All-star Team which was invited to participate in the International Amateur Championship Tournament. Somehow, he also found time to be a five handicap golfer, successful businessman, civic and community leader and State Senator.

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