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Baseball Analysis Home   Gary Garland / the japanese insider

October 21, 2002

Complete MLB All Star Team Announced

     Major League Baseball has finally announced the full roster for the squad that will travel to Japan and play one game against the Yomiuri Giants before facing off against an NPB all star contingent starting November 10. Those participating are:


Bartolo Colon (Montreal); Brad Penny (Florida); Brian Lawrence (San Diego); Eric Gagne (L.A.), J.C. Romers (Minnesota); Mike Fetters (Arizona); Mark Buerhle (Chicago WS); Miguel Batista (Arizona); Randy Wolf (Philadelphia); Rodrigo Lopez (Baltimore); Scott Schoenweiss (Anaheim); Tomokazu Ohka (Montreal).


Benito Santiago (San Francisco); Paul LoDuca (L.A.).


Eric Chavez (Oakland); Eric Hinske (Toronto); David Eckstein (Anaheim); Derek Lee (Florida); Jason Giambi (New York Yankees); Jimmy Rollins (Philadelphia); Junior Spivey (Arizona); Roberto Alomar (New York Mets).


Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners); Barry Bonds (San Francisco); Bernie Williams (New York Yankees); Jacque Jones (Minnesota); Pat Burrell (Philadelphia). Torii Hunter (Minnesota).

     Miguel Tejada was said earlier to be participating, but he apparently isn't. Too bad. It's also interesting that Alex Rodriguez won't be going even though Japanese fans would love to see him. Yet another example of what a jerk the guy is.

Dodgers' Williams Hanshin Bound

     According to Nikkan Sports, the Hanshin Tigers are going to bolster their weak middle relief by bringing in 30 year old lefty Jeff Williams from the L.A. Dodgers. Williams and Hanshin are reported to have just about finished agreeement on contract terms and it appears that he will join Makoto Yoshino as one of the main lefthanders in the pen. the six foot, 180 pounder recorded 29 saves for Las Vegas, but will be used mainly in a setup role with the Osaka outfit for closer Mark Valdez.

     In 37 major league games, the Canberra, Australia native went 4-1 with a 7.41 ERA. He represented his home country in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and joined L.A. that same year. He brings a fastball that will touch 93mph as well as sharp breaking pitches that will enable him to rack up some strikeouts in the Central League, team officials believe.

     In other Hanshin related news, owner Shunjiro Kuman lambasted George Arias, saying that "it is rare to pay so much for a player who was so ineffective" and that Arias was good only for short periods that were broken up by long stagnant phases. "Even though we pay him so much money, he strikes out like that." "I can see we have some problems in the front office," Kuman fumed.

     Of course, one has to question where Kuman has been all this time while Arias was leading the team in both homers and RBIs, becoming the first Tiger since Cecil Fielder to hammer 30 homers in a campaign. He is right in that Arias, even with the decent power numbers, hasn't been much of an offensive force otherwise. One can be sure that the former Angel and Padre will be glad to be released from a club whose management has long been the butt of criticism by foreign players and baseball commentators. Roberto Petagine, this could be YOU.

     The Osaka favorite sons got a bit of good news today when 21 year old hard throwing Tokiwa University righthander Tomoyuki Kubota said that he will only go to Hanshin and will refuse offers form all others. Kubota's motion resembles Hideo Nomo's, except he can run a heavy fastball to the plate at 95mph. The 5'11" and 185 pound Yoshimi-machi, Saitama Prefecture native also features a slider.

12 MLB Teams Interested in Nakamura?

     According to Sankei Sports, as many as 12 MLB ballclubs have their eyes on Kintetsu Buffaloes free agent third baseman Norihiro Nakamura. The Mets are considered the most ardent suitors, who see him as a replacement for Edgardo Alfonso, but the Phillies would like to supplant the recently departed Scott Rolen with him while the SF Giants, Red Sox, and Rangers are taking a hard look at the burly slugger. Nakamura himself has expressed an interest in both the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers.

     But the Osaka native is also seeking a large payday and the greatest offer he is expected to receive from a big league outfit is around $2 million a season while the Hanshin Tigers are going to offer more than $5 million. Moreover, Nakamura has indicated that he isn't willing to accept a discount in exchange for a shot on a stateside roster.

     Nakamura's 59 year old father has weighed in on the issue and firmly declared that he doesn't want his son leaving home shores due to his being married with three children and uncertainty generated due to the recent sniping murders as well as the pending war with Iraq.

Matsui Homer Calls to be Issued on CD

     According to the Hochi Shimbun, NHK has collected all the home runs calls for each of Yomiuri centerfielder Hideki Matsui's 332 lifetime regular circuit clouts and is issuing them on a CD. Also included will be a booklet that has more details about each of those roundtrippers. This item goes on sale December 4. Unfortunately for avid fans, there are no plans to put out one that features the calls on his Japan Series jacks.

Graczyk: Japan Series Will be a Seven Game Barnburner

     See Japan Times article at:

Takahashi's Power Gives Giants Edge in Right

     See Yomiuri Shimbun story at:

LG Twins Advance to Next Round With Defeat of Hyundai

     See Korea Times article at:

Today in Japanese Baseball History

     This report is for October 21 and on that date in Japanese baseball history in 1958, the Nishitetsu Lions, who had been down three games to none in the Japan Series, complete a four game sweep afterward to become champions. Lions ace Kazuhisa Inao picked up all four victories.

     Also, on the same day, Yomiuri Giants first baseman Tetsuhara Kawakami announces his retirement.

     Also on that date in 1975, the Yomiuri Giants finished last for the first time in the team's history. It was also Shigeo Nagashima's first year as the club's manager.

     Also on the same date in 1995, the Japan Series opens at Kobe Green Stadium months after the disastrous earthquake that struck that city with the home team, the Orix Blue Wave, facing the Yakult Swallows. Behind a fine performance from starter Terry Bross as well as a pinch hit two run homer by Yuji Ono just inside the leftfield foul pole in the eighth, the Swallows escape with a 5-2 victory. Pacific League batting champ Ichiro Suzuki went 1-4 with a walk.

October 19, 2002

Coming Up: Japan Series Preview

     The Japan Series starts Saturday and I will have my assessment of both teams and a prognostication of the outcome on Wednesday.  So stay tuned.

Despite 191 Hits by Shimizu, Wada Gives Seibu an Edge in Left

     See Yomiuri Shimbun story at:

LG Grabs Playoff Spot With Win Over Hyundai

     See Korea Times story at:

KBO Playoffs Begin

     See Korea Times story at:

Quote of the Day

     From Jim Reeves of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: " San Francisco Giants versus Anaheim Angels in an all California World Series? Sounds like the perfect definition of Dodger Blue." As a Dodgers fan Jim, I can tell you that's all too true.

A Note to Fox Sports

     Would you bastards please stop using your baseball broadcasts as a platform to promote your lame ass tv shows? The actors you have sitting in those high price seats during the playoffs and World Series wouldn't know a baseball from a cantaloupe. What you're doing is obvious and inane. So knock it the f**k off and give those tickets to someone who can actually appreciate the game!

October 18, 2002

Hori, Sawai Each Drive in Three to Win Final PL Game for Lotte 8-3

     Coming into the final game of the 2002 season, the Chiba Lotte Marines had won each of its last contests for seven years running and they extended that to eight, as second baseman Koichi Hori and backup first baseman Ryosuke Sawai both homered and drove in three runs apiece to help their team bury the Kintetsu Buffaloes Friday at Chiba Marine Stadium in front of a robust 29,000 strong crowd.

     Hiroshi Takamura started for the Osaka side and got jackhammered for seven runs, all earned, on eight hits in four innings to conclude the campaign at 9-10. Still want to try MLB Hiroshi?

     Kosuke Kato started for the winners and was mediocre, like the better part of his season has been, as he went six innings of three run ball on six hits for his 11th shiroboshi.

     Lotte went in front in the second, as Takamura plunked Lotte DH Derrick May and then Hori, who has registered double figures in longballs in only five of his 14 pro seasons, crushed a pitch into the leftfield seats for a 2-0 lead and his 128th jack lifetime.

     Kintetsu surged back to knot it, though, in the top of the third, as Kenji Nagasaka, making his first pro start at catcher, singled to right for his initial career hit and then went to second on a wild pitch. Centerfielder Akihito Moritani doubled to leftcenter and Nagasaka sprinted around the bases for home to make it 2-1.After Moritani advanced to third on a groundout, shortstop Eiji Muzuguchi laced a two bagger into the leftfield corner to reclaim Moritani and it was two all.

     Lotte, however, had a deuce up its sleeve in the bottom of the same frame. With one away, leftfielder Kenji Morozumi doubled to rightcenter. First baseman Kazuya Fukuura then pinged one off the leftfield wall for an RBI double. Sawai came in to pinch run for him (probably so that Fukuura would finish the season at .300 on the dot). One out later, Hori carromed a shot off the leftfield wall, too, for a standup RBI double and it was 4-2 home folks.

     Kintetsu answered by denting Kato again in the fourth, as first baseman Yuji Yoshioka clocked his 40th double to leftcenter. DH Hirotoshi Kitagawa ripped a shot off the glove of Sawai and Yoshioka galloped around as the ball trickled away to make it 4-3 Lotte.

     Sawai would change the complexion of this battle from a dogfight into a romp in the bottom of the inning. Catcher Masaumi Shimizu tripled up the rightcenter gap. Two outs later, Morozumi walked. Sawai then cracked his fourth career homer to rightcenter, good for three runs, as Lotte now assumed a 7-3 advantage.

     Ken Kadokura relieved Takamura in the fifth and struckout the side and then fanned the first man he saw in the sixth and then two more in the seventh. However, in that seventh, Hori then doubled down the leftfield line and Mitsuchika Hirai, 35, the former 1991 batting champ, was sent up to pinch hit for third baseman Kiyoshi Hatsushiba in his last stand as a pro and produced, ramming a 90mph fastball for a double to rightcenter to redeem Hori and lend Lotte an 8-3 edge. Hirai, whose knees are in bad shape, was pinch run for by Makoto Kosaka and he jogged off the field to a standing ovation.

     Lotte reliever Soichi Fujita tossed a perfect eighth. Hiroyuki Kobayashi retired the first two Buffs batters that stepped in for the ninth. Then in spite of a big lead, Lotte manager Koji Yamamoto brought in closer Masahide Kobayashi, who struckout pinch hitter Takashi Muto on five pitches to say sayonara to 2002. It also ended Masahide's consecutive save point string at 33. Why Yamamoto did this is anyone's guess. Maybe he thought that the devoted Lotte fans wanted to see Kobayashi pitch or he was attempting to impart some lesson that being part of a team is more important than records. Who really knows?

     Hirai, partially due to those knee problems, has had an up and down career. After winning the batting championship in 1991, he retured with .281 and 225 seasons that were marred by injury and then went .260 and .249 in the following pair of relatively healthy campaigns. He batted a personal best .320 in 1998, but it was downhill from there and he posted a .172 in 2001 in only 29 total at bats. The above at bat was his lone showing at the big club level for 2002.

     For Lotte, May was 1-3 with an HBP and is at .273.

Pitching Lines:


Takamura (L, 9-10 )  IP 4.0 PC 90 H 8 HR 2 K 3 BB 2 R 7 ER 7 ERA 4.14
Kadokura                  IP 3.0 PC 45 H 2 HR 0 K 6 BB 0 R 1 ER 1 ERA 3.68
D. Miyamoto            IP 0.2 PC   6 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 3.92
A.N. Otsuka             IP 0.1 PC   3 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 1.28


K. Kato (W, 11-15)  IP 6.0 PC 100 H 6 HR 0 K 8 BB 2 R 3 ER 3 ERA 4.58
Yoshida                    IP 1.0 PC   14 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 3.40
S. Fujita                    IP 1.0 PC   12 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 3.86
H. Kobayashi          IP 0.2 PC     8 H 0 HR 0 K 0 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 2.53
M. Kobayashi         IP 0.1 PC     5 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 0.83

2B: Moritani, Mizuguchi, Morizumi, Fukuura, Hori 2, Yoshioka, Hirai
3B: Masaumi Shimizu
HR: Hori (14), R. Sawai (3)
RBI: Mizuguchi, H. Kitagawa, Fukuura, Sawai 3, Hori 3, Hirai
WP: K. Kato
HBP: May (Takamura)
LOB: Kintetsu 5, Lotte 5

Season Series: Kintetsu 12, Lotte 16

Game Time: 3:01
Attendance: 29,000
Umpires: Nakamura (HP), Kawaguchi (1B), Tachibana (2B), Yanagida (3B)

Daiei May Bring in Dodgers Farmhand Skrmetta for Closer's Role

     The Daiei Hawks, fresh from releasing popular closer Rodney Pedraza, are looking for a new, cheaper righthander to fill that position and have reportedly turned their attention to Matt Skrmetta, 29, who racked up nine wins and a save with Las Vegas in the Dodgers system this past season, says Sankei Sports.

     The 6'3" 220 pound Skrmetta is a native of Biloxi Mississippi who has a career MLB record of 2-2 with a 10.69 ERA. This season with the 51s, he was in 47 games and went 9-1 with a save and a 3.29 ERA. He is also a rarity in that he switch hits, but in the Pacific League, which has the DH, he would be unlikely to see any plate time.

     Last season, the Hawks had signed Red Sox hurler Carlos Castillo with the intention of inserting him into the team's think starting rotation, but he stunk it up (and displayed a bad attitude to boot) and spent the entirety of the regular season in the minors before getting the heave ho.

     Tha Hawks parent corporation is tens billions of dollars in debt and is apparently looking for economies with the baseball team. which is marginally profitable despite attracting a new PL record 3.108 million fans to Fukuoka Dome this year, so Pedraza was released and they attempted to put second baseman Tadahito Iguchi on the posting market, but Iguchi, who is rehabbing a shoulder after recent surgery, refused to allow it.

     Two of the hottest pitching college pitching prospects that will go in this year's draft, Nagisa Araki, who has been clocked at 96mph for Kyushu Community College, and Tsuyoshi Wada, the all time Tokyo Big Six University League strikeout king, have said that they will only sign with the Hawks. In addition, they also have Hayato Terahara, who will be getting a 150% pay raise plus an $85,000 bonus after becoming the first rookie fresh out of high school to win six games in the team's history. So that will help them out from both a starting pitching standpoint, which has been mostly awful this season, as well as from a salary perspective. Most likely, the rotation will then be topped off by veterans Kazumi Saito and, if he stays in Fukuoka since he's a free agent, Kenichi Wakatabe. Now the question is, will their new closer be as effective as ;edraza was? Time will tell.

     Team manager Sadaharu Oh will be in Venezuela this winter scouting more foreign talent to go along with leftfielder Pedro Valdez.

Baseball Tour of Japan for Regular Folks

     I just happened on this while researching another matter. Thus, I cannot verify that these folks are on the up and up, so caveat  emptor. But for the baseball mad, this certainly looks like fun:

     There is also an outfit that is just a baseball-themed tour of Japanese baseball sites run by one of the members of the Bavasi family at:

NY Times on Matsui, Contreras

     See article at:

Yankees Interested in Nakamura?

     You're kidding, right? See NY Post article at:

How Do Giants, Lions Second Basemen Stack Up?

     See Yomiuri Shimbun article at:

Kazuo Matsui Gives Lions Edge at Shortstop

     See Yomiuri Shimbun article at:

Ramirez May Not be Back With Yakult

     Geez, what is going on here? First Petatgine and now Alex. See Japan Times story at:

Globalization in SF Giants Clubhouse

     See San Francisco Chronicle article at:

Cost Cutting, Debt Waivers Lead to Profit for Daiei

     The parent company of the Daiei Hawks actually posted a profit, but still remains mired in debt. See Japan Times story at:

Japan's National Pastime; But Will it be America's?

     This article from World Magazine is a couple of months old, but Marvin Olasky took a trip to Osaka during the height of the enmity between the MLB Player's Association and the owners and here are his impressions:

Pair of Two Run Homers Powers Samsung to Korea Series

     See Korea Times article at:

Taichung Wins Taiwan Major League Championship

     See Taipei Times story at:

Angels' Weber: From Taiwan to the World Series

     See Taipei Times story at:

Today in Japanese Baseball History

     This report is for October 18th and on that date in Japanese baseball history in 1979, a Lotte Orions infielder named Emoto broke both shoulders when the car he was driving collided head on with a dump truck. Yikes! I can't find any stats for the guy and I can't make out his first name, but it appears that he didn't play much at the big club level, if at all. He had signed with Lotte as a free agent out of the industrial leagues after being ignored in the 1978 draft.

October 16, 2002

Ishikawa May Have Locked Up Rookie of the Year with 3-1 Victory

     Despite allowing runners to reach base in each of his five innings, 5'6" screwballing rookie Masanori Ishikawa held the Hiroshima Carp to one run to pick up his 12th victory of the year by a 3-1 margin Wednesday at Meiji Jingu Stadium. In so doing, he pulled in front of Yokohama Bay Stars lefthander Yuji Yoshimi, the other main candidate for Rookie of the Year, in both wins and ERA.

     Ishikawa pitched out of a two on and one out predicament in the second by inducing a double play ball. The Swallows offense then rewarded their teammate's resourcefulness in the bottom of the inning when rightfielder Atsunori Inaba seared a triple off the centerfield fence and came home on a single to left by second baseman Noriyuki Shiroishi to make it 1-0. Catcher Kosei Ono lined one into the leftcenter gap for a double. One out later, centerfielder Munehiro Shidabeat out a tapper toward third and Shiroishi crossed for a 2-0 Yakult lead.

     Hiroshima loaded the bases in the third on a pair of one out singles and a walk, but Ishikawa got slumping Tomoaki Kanemoto to popout to first and Shida ran down third baseman Takahiro Arai's screamer in the rightcenter alley to extricate himself again.

     However, in the top of the fourth, Carp first baseman Kojiro Machida creamed one over the leftfield wall and it was now a 2-1 game in the Swallows favor.

     Carp starter Ken Takahashi had a whale of an outing, but cracked again in the sixth when he went somewhere he shouldn't have andSwallows third baseman Akinori Iwamura got good wood on it, propelling it into the rightfield seats to make it 3-1 Yakult.

     Once Ishikawa's stint was done, the Yakult relief staff tightened the screws on the Carp, as they allowed just one hit and a walk over the final four innings to put it in the refrigerator. You can see a pic of Ishikawa's delivery at:

     Takahashi ended up going all the way and was charged with three runs on five hits and struckout nine while ten of his teammates were stranded on the basepaths for a frustrating loss. Moreover, Yakult will now win the season series with Hiroshima for the first time in three years.

     Susumu Aoyagi, 34, a longtime backup catcher with both the Lotte Orions and, beginning in 1995, with Yakult, pinch hit for Ishikawa in the sixth and grounded out to Takahashi in his last pro at bat. That was his only appearance of this season with the big club and he finishes his 14 season career having hit .233 with 26 homers and 140 RBIs in 595 games.

     Kanemoto, still agonizing over his free agent status, is now zero for his last 20 at bats over five games and his average has fallen from .282 to .273.

     For Yakult, first baseman Roberto Petagine was 0-2 with a walk and is at .323. Leftfielder Alex Ramirez was 0-4 with two strikeouts and is at .296.

Pitching Lines:


K. Takahashi (L, 9-14) IP 8.0 PC 119 H 5 HR 1 K 9 BB 3 R 3 ER 3 ERA 3.84


Masanori Ishikawa (W, 12-9) IP 5.0 PC 100 H 8 HR 1 K 2 BB 2 R 1 ER 1 ERA 3.33
Kawabata                                  IP 2.0 PC  23 H 0 HR 0 K 1 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 2.56
R. Igarashi                                 IP 0.2 PC  21 H 1 HR 0 K 1 BB 1 R 0 ER 0 ERA 2.10
H. Ishii (S, 5)                             IP 1.1 PC  33 H 0 HR 0 K 2 BB 0 R 0 ER 0 ERA 1.52

E: Arai
2B: K. Ono, Ogata, Arai
3B: Inaba
HR: Machida (7), Iwamura (23)
RBI: Machida, Shida, Iwamura, Shiroishi
WP: Masanori Ishikawa
GIDP: Ishihara
LOB: Hiroshima 10, Yakult 6

Season Series: Hiroshima 11, Yakult 14 2 Ties

Game Time: 3:03
Attendance: 5,000
Umpires: Mori (HP), Kamimoto (1B), Watada (2B), Ino (3B)

Is Godzilla Ready for New York?

     According to an Associated Press report, the Yomiuri Giants intend to offer Hideki Matsui a four year deal worth $7-8 million a season plus incentives. We'll have to see how that plays out. in the meantime,  Marty Kuehnert at the Japan Time contemplates the above  question at:

Suzuki to Stay With Yokohama

     According to Sports Nippon, Yokohama Bay Stars two time batting champion and leftfielder Takanori Suzuki, 30, who is a free agent that has drawn interest from both MLB and other Japanese teams, is going to stay in Yokohama. While the incentive provisions of the new pact are still being worked out, the basic part of it will reportedly be worth 600 million yen ($5 million), or about $1.6 million a season.

     Suzuki is also a multiple Gold Glove winner and has batted in both the three and four holes in the team's lineup.Along with the development of Domingo Guzman as a starter, this is the best news in Yokohama this season.

Gaillard, Toyoda Named Firemen of the Year

     Chunichi Dragons closer Eddie Gaillard and Kiyoshi Toyoda, who fulfills the same role for the Seibu Lions, were each named Fireman of the Year for their respective leagues today by the offices of those circuits. Gaillard now has bookends, as this is his second such trophy, while Toyoda is taking home his first.

Another Look at the Zen Way of Baseball

     Eric Neel takes a look at Sadaharu Oh's out of print tome at:

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

     Peter Lewis at Fortune Magazine gives his impressions of a Yakult Swallows game at:

     Note that he doesn't quite get it right about Rhodes and Cabrera, so you need to take it with a grain of salt.

     A gaijin in Japan gives his impressions of the Cabrera's final attempt to break the record at:

Daiei Hawks Parent Company Sees Sales Decline

     See Yahoo Retail article at:

Popular Terahara to be Rewarded With Bigger Paycheck

     According to Nikkan Sports, 19 year old rookie righthander Hayato Terahara, who became the only rookie pitcher to win six games right out of high school for the team in its history this season, is going to be taking home bigger checks next season, the team announced. The figure that was mentioned by the sports daily was 40 million yen (a little over $300,000), a 150% increase over his 2002 salary. Moreover, he will also receive a bonus of ten million yen (about $85,000).

     The Miyazaki Prefecture-born youngster is making a goot impression at the sales counter as well, as goods with his name on them rank third to those of catcher Kenji Johjima and third baseman Hiroki Kokubo.

     For his part, Terahara says that he doesn't really know anything about what the club will do about his salary. Rather, he is already focusing on getting in shape for next year.

Hanshin Releases Two More Players; Petagine Pursuit Continues

     The process goes on in Osaka of reconstituting the Hanshin Tigers under manager Senichi Hoshino, as he had two more players released this week. Hoping to catch on with other ballclubs are 28 year old Toshiyuki Hesaka and 27 year old Hiroyuki Yamaoka. Both are righthanded pitchers.

     Yamaoka, who spent the entirety of the season in the minors, has seen only a total of 54.2 innings of action in the five years since being drafted out of Tohoku Fukushi University, going 0-3 with a 4.28 ERA during that span.

     Hesaka got into nine games during the 2002 campaign and posted a 2.84 ERA in 6.1 innings. He had no record. Lifetime, he was 0-2 in 40.2 total innings over 34 appearances in four seasons for a 2.87 ERA.

Three Samsung Homers Destroy Kia 9-1 as KBO Resumes Play

     See Korea Times story at:

Kaohsiung Beats Taichung for First Victory in TML Series

     See Taipei Times story at:

Brother Elephants 2002 CPBL Champs After Toppling Whales 9-5

     See Taipei Times story at:

Golden State Warriors Reach Out to Asian Community

     And I only put this off topic article in due to the fact that you will see more and more interest in appealing to Asian and Asian-American markets:

Today in Japanese Baseball History

     This report is for October 16th and on that date in Japanese baseball history in 1991, Yakult Swallows catcher Atsuya Furuta rolled one between third and short and into leftfield field at Meiji Jingu Stadium in a faceoff with the Hiroshima Carp for a single to pass Chunichi Dragons first baseman Hiromitsu Ochiai in the batting race. That made him the first backstop since the Nankai Hawks Katsuya Nomura in 1965 to win a batting title and only the second who played his position to do so in Japanese history. Of course, he became the first receiver in Central League annals to do that. Furthermore, his .3398 was the highest ever recorded by a catcher. In addition, he was the second Swallow ever to win a batting crown after Tsutomu Wakamatsu.


September 16 to October 15, 2002

August 2 to September 15, 2002

July 16 to August 1, 2002

July 1 to July 15, 2002

June 16 to June 30, 2002

June 1 to June 15, 2002

May 14 to May 30, 2002

May 1 to May 13, 2002

April 16 to April 30, 2002

April 7 to April 15, 2002

March 30 to April 6, 2002




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