JAPAN'S FRANCHISE ALL-STAR TEAMS
By Jim Albright
This article will select an entire team of 25 players for each
franchise. Ideally, each team
will have two players for each fielding position plus nine
pitchers. Players are only eligible to play those positions they are estimated to
have played 1500 or more defensive innings (400 IP) at for the franchise. The selections for
players are based upon the rtg2 points system
but counting only those points gained while with the franchise in
question. It is important to
note that we are counting all the points got in his whole career with the
franchise, thus favoring players with long tenures with a
franchise. I also selected a manager for each franchise, using the
managers success points system
, again limiting the count to those points attained while with the franchise
Franchises are defined to include those teams which were merged into
a franchise. Thus, for example, players for the Robins are considered
part of the Bay Stars franchise. For this reason, the Buffaloes and the Blue Wave have
now been joined, as they will be in 2005. I'm not planning on doing such a team for the new
Pacific League entry, the Eagles, until they've been around ten years or so. I'll retain the
all-star teams for the Buffaloes and Blue Wave through the 2004 in a
Any player receiving three hundred fifty (350) or more points for a franchise
and any manager receiving twenty (20) or more success points for a franchise
will be listed. If such a manager or player would not win a spot on the
team, he receives an Honorable
I'll do the Central League first, then a brief bit on the defunct teams, and finally do the
Pacific League. Within the leagues, we will use nicknames and go in alphabetical order.
Greatest Bay Stars Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Bobby Rose
|| Makoto Matsubara
|| Yutaka Takagi
|| Takuro Ishii
|| Kazuhiko Kondo
|| Takeshi Kuwata
|| Juzo Sanada
c 254 points
He won 1 Best Nine Award and 1 Gold Glove and might have done better if Atsuya Furuta wasm't
among the competition.
c 190 points
Ito is fairly traditional among Japanese catchers in that he's not much of a threat with a bat
in his hand. For that reason, he's one of many catchers we'll see below 200 points. About
the only other position where we'll see large numbers of such players is at pitcher, and that's
because the usage patterns for Japanese pitchers combined with their practice philosophies for
pitchers burned out so many of them. Also, modern pitchers have to deal with comparatively
low IP numbers in which to accumulate points.
1b-3b 412 points
The second best player in franchise history. He's the only guy we'll keep whose primary spot
is first, since Isamu Fujii is better than anyone else who played first for the franchise
enough to qualify to play the position for these teams, even though Fujii played more in the
2b 424 points
The best player in franchise history, according to the rating system. I agree. I can see how
he could go to Japan--his defense at second wasn't sterling, and many managers wouldn't use
him there for that reason. I don't know if he'd have been suitable defensively at third, and
it's questionable whether he would have hit well enough to be anything more than a reserve
outfielder in the majors. In Japan, his bat was a powerful weapon, so even if you weren't
overwhelmed with his defensive prowess, you had to love having a player of that caliber at
second for you.
2b-ss 393 points
He led the league in steals once, and hit .300 or better 8 times, finishing with a .297 career
average. However, because of the large number of contemporary middle infielders with similar
qualifications, he'd have to get a leg up based on his defense, and since he didn't get any
Gold Gloves, I don't think that's likely.
3b-ss 375 points
The "Greatness Points" system didn't give him enough credit, basically because his competition
for awards was Nagashima. Greatness Points couldn't deal with such a scenario. The new
ratings consider much more data and thus gives a truer picture of the player.
3b 320 points
He never won any awards, but had 6 seasons with 25 or more HR. His best two seasons were 1977,
when he hit .302 with 35 homers, and 1980 when he hit .297 with 36 homers.
ss 387 points
He's still active and with the franchise. He began his career as an ineffective pitcher (his
career ERA is 5.69 in 49 IP) before being moved to short. He's hit over .300 4 times and took
a fair number of walks to help him to his current career OBP of .365. He could really help
his JHOF chances if he has anything left, but his poor 2003 (.231 avg) at least makes one
wonder if he's not just about finished, given that he was born in 1970.
ss 309 points
Won 1 Best Nine Award and 8 Gold Gloves. He was a decent hitter for a middle infielder as
well, with a .262 career average and 5 seasons of 10 or more homers.
of 376 points
He didn't have much power for an outfielder, with only 2 seasons of 10 or more homers and a
single season high of 13 HR. He did draw walks, which is valuable, but the real key to his
value is his 6 seasons over .300 and two more between .290 and .299.
of 329 points
He's still active and with the franchise. He's 31, so he may have some top-notch seasons left.
He's won 2 batting titles, had 5 seasons over .300 to give him a current career mark of .311.
He adds moderate power to the mix, with 7 seasons of 13-21 homers. To date, he's won 2 Best
Nine Awards and no other awards. He's a heck of a player, but if he's got any chance at the
Japanese HOF, he's either got to last a lot longer or kick it up a notch now.
of 278 points
He hit .351 in 1982 and you could expect 10-13 HR a season from him, though his two best
totals are 21 and 19. He won 1 Best Nine Award for the only award he ever received. Not a
great player by any means, but a nice one to have on most real team rosters.
of 261 points
Ponce played well for 4 full seasons and then poorly for his the 15 games of his fifth and last
season. His rating is this low simply because of his short career. In his four full seasons,
he hit 24-35 homers with 3 seasons of .292 or better for a career .296 average. He won 3
Best Nine Awards as well.
of 252 points
Another outfielder for this franchise with good batting averages and low double digit HR power.
He didn't walk much, (a high of 38 for a season), and didn't steal much either (only 1
season with more than 13 steals, and only 82 in his career). He never won any awards, either.
He played 15 seasons for the franchise, which certainly counts.
of 237 points
He had a .295 average for the franchise, but in only 3247 AB. It looks as though he was used
as a regular in 4 seasons, and as a platoon man against right handers thereafter. Since his
full seasons in the lineup include a 1977 season with a .323 average and 20 HR amd a .326
average and 23 HR the next year, plus two other decent years at the plate, I'd suspect
injuries and/or his defensive play held him back. Despite the fine seasons mentioned above,
he never won any awards, which leads me to think his defense wasn't exactly a strength.
of-1b 236 points
Had a big season for the franchise in 1950 when he hit .327 with 34 HR and 122 RBI, but the
Whales were a sorry expansion squad and offensive numbers were up that year. He never won
any awards. His career rates higher, because he played for other teams back to 1936. If
you're wondering, I don't think that he would have had a JHOF career if WW II hadn't
p 364 points
He played for the Robins, and is considered part of this franchise because the Robins merged
into the Whales. Sanada pitched 2 no-hitters and had his final five years with the Tigers.
He won 2 Best Nine Awards and a Sawamura while with the Robins.
p 321 points
Now back with the franchise after a stint in Seattle of the majors. If he's healthy, he should
solidify his case for the JHOF. Not only did he pitch well in the majors, which surely should
count in his favor, he is the best pure reliever to date in Japan. He is a good bet to
reclaim the career NPB saves record from Takatsu, since Shingo's now in the majors. He won
a MVP and a Best Nine Award for his monster 1998 season, in which he saved 45 with a tiny ERA
of 0.64 while leading the team to a Japan Series win. He had four other seasons in NPB with
at least 17 saves and an ERA under 2.00, and led the Central League in saves four times.
p 314 points
His career ERA is 2.60 in almost 3000 career IP, so obviously he's a quality pitcher. He won
20 or more 6 times despite often working for poor teams. He had 7 seasons where he qualified
for the ERA title with an ERA of 2.74 or less.
p 297 points
He was durable and frequently posted double digit win totals. He led the league with 25 wins
in 1970, when his ERA was 1.95. The next year, his ERA was 2.23 in 279 IP, and in 1979 he
won an ERA title with a mark of 2.39. He won Best Nine Awards for his fine 1970 and 1971
p 295 points
Saito only got to relieve between 1981 and 1987, and those are clearly his best years. He led
the league 3 times in saves and added an ERA title in 1982. I can understand why he began as
a starter, but I don't get why they tried to switch him back to that role in 1988 despite
mediocre results, especially when he was 33 when they tried to switch him back. I guess it's
just that Japanese managers have had a hard time breaking away from the old workhorse starter
p 244 points
This right hander was a WWII experiment in how hard you can use a pitcher. He had 541.1 IP
(the all-time NPB record for that category) in 1942 and another 294 in 1943. He never pitched
again. I don't know if he even survived WWII, much less if he survived after some injury.
His career ERA is 0.97, so it's clear he was quite good in those 2 years. The rating system
allows his points for these two seasons to be tripled (the seasons certainly are part of his
best 5 consecutive year stretch, and are among his three best seasons, so both bonuses apply).
He also could hit a bit, so he also played everyday positions on occasion, which boosts his
rating even higher.
p 239 points
This right hander led the league in wins twice and three times in strikeouts. He was a tall,
thin guy, going 6 foot tall and 158 pounds. Won 1 Best Nine Award.
p 181 points
This 5 foot 7 inch tall, 143 pound righty won 26 games in 1963 and 21 more in 1964. He only
lasted for 7 seasons total and 1343.2 career IP, over half of it in the twin 20 win seasons.
p 176 points
He had a big season in 1968, with 21 wins and a 2.40 ERA in 277.2 IP. He had nice size,
especially for Japan in the 60's and 70's at 6 foot tall, 191 pounds.
mgr 7.80 points
He leads this franchise in managers success points with a rather low total. The vast majority
of those points come from his 1960 Japan Series title, as he only added two other winning
seasons for this franchise. Mihara is much better known as manager of the 1950's Lion
dynasty. The fact so little is necessary to be the most successful manager in franchise
history speaks volumes about the franchise.
Greatest Carp Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Koji Yamamoto
|| Sachio Kinugasa
|| Ryohei Hasegawa
|| Yoshihiko Takahashi
|| Kenji Nomura
|| Tomoaki Kanemoto
|| Kazuyoshi Yamamoto
|| Akira Eto
c 180 points
Catchers are usually glove men first in Japan, and Tatsukawa is no exception. His career
average was .246, but he still won 3 Best Nines and 3 Gold Gloves. It's likely that this
score underestimates his defensive value. It would be a bad total for someone playing any
other position, but for a catcher in Japan, it's actually a decent total.
c 141 points
His two best seasons were 1994 and 1996, when he hit .284 and .311 respectively to win his
two Best Nines and two Gold Gloves. Though he's still active, he's was born in July 1967,
and hasn't hit over .200 since 2001, you've got to think he's very near the end of his
3b-1b 548 points
He finishes second among the all-time Carp players, behind his real-life teammate
Koji Yamamoto. Besides his Gold Gloves, Kinugasa won a MVP and 3 Best Nines.
1b 275 points
He never received any awards nor did he ever lead the league in any of the Triple Crown
categories. He only had 20 or more HR in one season, which is less than spectacular for a
first baseman. Jim Allen did observe he was good with the glove. The record indicates he
wasn't very durable, either.
2b 311 points
He had four consecutve seasons in which he qualified for the batting title with an average
over .300, and won the batting title in two of those years. He won 2 Best Nines and 5 Gold
Gloves, so he was quite valuable. If he had lasted a few more years and/or had some power,
he would be a legitimate JHOF candidate.
3b-1b 366 points
He won 7 Best Nines, but only 1 Gold Glove. He hit 30 or more HR 3 times for the Carp, twice
more for the Giants to date. He hit at least 27 HR every season from 1993 through 2001. Also
finished with an average over .300 twice.
ss 427 points
He hit 20 or more HR four times, and his over .300 in 5 seasons. Those are excellent
marks for a shortstop.
ss-3b 405 points
He won 3 Best Nines and a Gold Glove at short. He hit over .300 3 times, and generally added
10-16 homers a year. However, his career high in homers was 32 in 1995 to go with a .315
ss-2b-3b 305 points
Mimura won 3 Best Nines but no Gold Gloves. His career average is .255, but he did hit over
.300 once. He had some power as can by seen by his normal range of doubles and homers when
he played over half the games in a season. In those seasons, he'd get 11-22 doubles and 10-15
homers. His career high in homers was 27 in 1976.
of 630 points
The best player the Carp have ever had was called "Mr. Red Helmet" in honor of the Carp's
headgear. He made 14 all-star teams, won 4 HR titles, two of them over an aging Sadaharu Oh.
He added one batting title and 3 RBI crowns to his resume. He hit over .300 in 7 of his
to help him finish with a .290 career mark. He hit 40 or more homers in 5 consecutive seasons
and added four more seasons of 30-36 HR. He also set a Japanese record with 302 consecutive
chances without an error.
of 382 points
Still active, but no longer with the franchise. He won 3 Best Nines, hit 30 or more HR in 3
seasons, and over .300 four times. His career marks as of the end of 2003 are .287 average,
.389 on-base percentage, and .513 slugging percentage. That says that while his average is
quite good, he takes a good number of walks and adds significant power as well.
of 367 points
Never hit more than 21 HR in a season, but was usually in the teens. He hit over .300 twice.
of 320 points
He's still with the franchise after missing most of the 2000 and 2001 seasons and playing
poorly when he was in the lineup in those seasons. He's recovered for two .300 seasons with
25 and 29 homers. He hit 36 HR in 1999 to go with a .305 average. He seems to have had
trouble staying in the lineup, and given the generally high quality of his play, I suspect
injuries are the reason. He hits and throws right handed. He won 5 Gold Gloves, so he gave
his teams quality defensive play. Starting in 1995, he stole 47 bases, 50 bases, and 49 bases
in 3 consecutive seasons, and otherwise was often in the teens in steals. He was born in the
end of 1968, and thus I'd say his chances of reaching the JHOF are dim.
of 320 points
Still active and with the franchise. He had decent power, hitting 19-27 homers in 7 seasons,
and also hit .300 or better in 8 seasons. He's won 4 Best Nines and 4 Gold Gloves. He was
born in June 1971, so it's conceivable that with a good finishing kick he could get into JHOF
territory. It's notable that the whole outfield of the late 1990's for this franchise made its
of-3b 309 points
He had 4 seasons in which he qualified for the batting title with an average over .300. He
also had good plate discipline, often drawing 60-70 walks in a year. He didn't have great
power, with a career high of 12. He won 3 Best Nines, 2 in the outfield and the other at
third and added 4 Gold Gloves in the outfield.
of-1b 297 points
He won only one award, an outfield Best Nine. He won an RBI title and a batting title. He
had good power, hitting 20 or more HR 6 times, with a career high of 36. He ranks so low
because he really didn't find his stride as a batter until he was 28. From 1976 to 1982, he
had most of those 20+ HR seasons and was over .300 5 times.
p 433 points
He was only 5 feet 6 inches tall and 123 pounds, so this right hander relied on a screwball,
sinker, slider and a slow curve and pitching smarts (especially in changing speeds) for his
success. He never won any awards, even in his 30-17, 1.70 ERA in 387.1 IP year of 1955. He
won 20 or more 4 times despite pitching for generally sorry squads. In six of the seasons in
which he qualified for the ERA title, he had an ERA of 2.20 or less. The 30 win season in
1955 gave him the most wins that year in the CL.
p 309 points
A southpaw who started out as a reliever, then became a starter for seven years, went back to
relieving for 4 years, and then went back to starting. He won 2 ERA titles and led the league
in saves twice. Lasted well into his 40's, and was a power pitcher until the end of his
career. He won a Sawamura Award in 1989.
p 255 points
He won a MVP and a Best Nine in 1999 together with the ERA title. He was a reliever as a
rookie, then started for 3 years had two years in a combined role, and then two excellent years
in relief. He's still active and with the franchise, but given his poor 2003 season and that
he was born in 1967, you've got to wonder if he has anything left.
p 223 points
He won 20 games to lead the league in 1975 and also led in strikeouts and won a Best Nine as
a result. He had one year where he led the league in ERA as well. He pitched 3 no hitters in
p 217 points
Mostly, his ERA's were over 3, which definitely has the effect of keeping his ranking down
despite the fact he was durable enough to win 213 games. He won an MVP for his 18-4 1986
season which featured a league leading ERA of 2.43. That was one of his two Best Nine seasons,
and the other was 1982, when he went 20-8 with a 2.42 ERA. Those two Best Nine seasons were
the only ones in which his ERA was under 2.50.
p 204 points
He had almost half of his career innings pitched in 1960-1962, 1018.2 out of 2157.1. He won
26, 27 and 20 wins those 3 years for mediocre to poor clubs, posting ERAs between 2.44 and
2.69. He pitched 480 innings in 1963-1964 and it looks like he battled arm woes thereafter.
p 184 points
This six foot tall lefty led the league in strikeouts 3 times, but his ranking is this low
because of his 3.38 career ERA.
p 174 points
He won 20 games once, but only had 3 seasons in which he qualified for the ERA title with an
ERA under 3.00. Those three years were quite good, though: 2.19, 2.51 and 2.54. He had a
few low IP years with those kinds of ERAs. However, that makes his career mostly either low
inning or high ERA years, neither of which lead to high scores under this rating system.
p 152 points
He only spent 3 seasons with the franchise, but led in saves in two of them. He averaged over
a strikeout an inning while with the Carp, all of them pitched in relief.
mgr 28.38 points
He is the clear winner as the most successful manager of the franchise. He was the skipper
during the best days of the franchise, winning 4 pennants and 3 Japan Series titles between
1975 and 1984, including back to back Series wins in 1979-1980.
Greatest Dragon Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Shigeru Sugishita
|| Shinichi Eto
|| Tatsuhiko Kimata
|| Kazuyoshi Tatsunami
|| Morimichi Takagi
|| Kenichi Yazawa
|| Michio Nishizawa
|| Hiromitsu Ochiai
|| Masaru Uno
|| Yasunori Oshima
|| Mitsuo Naka
c 451 points
From 1968 through 1972. he slugged a total of 132 homers with averages each season between
.268 and .289. He had at least 50 walks in each of those seasons as well. From 1974 to 1979,
he hit more for average, hitting .294 in all but one season of .279. His walk totals were
lower in the period 1974-1979 than in the earlier one, and his homer totals were quite
respectable, but down to 14-18 per year.
c 220 points
He rates rather well among Japanese catchers, but that isn't the highest praise a ballplayer
could receive. He's still active, but for another franchise. He didn't capture any awards,
and his career highs for a season are 20 HR and .271. His career average is .244.
1b-p 409 points
This franchise is hard to choose a starting lineup for because it has so many multiposition
players, many of whom aren't defensive stalwarts. I've basically gone with primary positions
in the listing above, but if a manager had this squad for real, he might do a serious amount
of altering the listings. Nishizawa's pitching stats look better than they really are because
the deadball nature of the game when he pitched. Still, he did win 20 games once and also
pitched a no hitter. He hit over .300 in five seasons, good enough to snag one batting title.
He also claimed an RBI crown and three Best Nines. He had seasons of 37 and 46 homers, but
his next two best seasons are 20 and 22. He had 52 AB against touring major leaguers, and
averaged a measly .192 in those opportunities.
1b-of 294 points
A 6 foot 1 inch tall, 209 pound lefty who played through the 2002 season. He won 1 Best Nine
at first. He had an excellent 1994 campaign with a .310 average, 38 HR, and 107 RBI. The last
two categories led the league, the only times he did so in the Triple Crown categories. He
banged 38 HR in 1996 as well, and hit 20-26 homers in 4 other seasons. He knew how to take a
walk as well, which always helps. He platooned until 1994, and his last good year playing
full-time was in 1996.
2b-ss-3b 449 points
He often had double digit HR totals, which is a nice contribution to get from a middle
infielder. He hit over .300 five times, and since he had good plate discipline, he's had an
on-base percentage over .360 in 11 seasons in his career to date. His slugging percentage has
been over .400 in 11 seasons as well. The whole package he represents is excellent. He
doesn't have the fielding reputation of Morimichi Takagi, but he was quite good defensively
and he outperformed Takagi at the plate.
2b 441 points
He was 31 and a veteran of 12 season when Gold Gloves began being awarded, and yet he managed
to snare three before he retired. I'd guess that the rating system doesn't give him enough
credit for his defense based upon that fact and his defensive reputation. He was awarded 7
Best Nines, 5 of them before Gold Gloves were given. He led the league in steals 3 times and
hit for a .290 or better average 7 times. He had a high of 24 HR in a season, but had six more
years with 15-20 homers.
2b 270 points
Other than Uno and Tatsunami, no Dragon shortstop outperformed Inoue, so he makes the squad.
He won 5 Best Nines, but once the team got Morimichi Takagi, he was traded to the Hawks.
1b-3b 402 points
He won three Triple Crowns in his career, the only NPB player to win so many. None of them
came while he was with the Dragons, however. He lead the league in homers and RBI 5 times
each, twice in each category for the Dragons. He led the league in walks nine times,
including six of his seven seasons as a Dragon. He led the league in average five times, all
for the Orions. The Orions didn't trade him because they thought he was in decline but
rather because they had hired a manager to crack the whip, and moving Ochiai was done to
send the message things would be different. He won 2 MVPs both for the Orions. He added 10
Best Nines, 6 for the Orions (2 at second, 1 at first, and 3 at third) and four for the
Dragons (3 at first and 1 at third). Alonzo Powell says Ochiai was very knowledgeable about
the pitchers, and that when he left the Dragons as a free agent, the team really missed his
knowledge and experience.
3b-1b 302 points
Gomez played six years in Japan, beginning at age 30, all of them for the Dragons. He hit
153 homers in those six years, with a high of 36. He hit over .300 twice, with a high of
.315. He also took a good number of walks, so his on-base percentage was at least 80 points
higher than his average. His career average was .293. All these fine qualities helped him
capture 2 Best Nines.
ss-3b 394 points
Uno hit 25 or more homers nine times and had a single season high average of .304, though his
career mark was .262.
of-1b 453 points
He won 6 Best Nines and two batting titles, and was a runner up to Oh for the HR title 4
times. He hit 20 or more homers 10 times and averaged over .300 five times. His best season
was 1965 when he hit .336 with 81 walks and 29 homers.
1b-of 439 points
He was the Rookie of the Year in 1970. Yazawa won 2 batting titles behind sensational averages
of .355 and .369. He hit over .300 in 6 seasons, and slugged 21-34 homers six times. His
best stretch as a hitter came in 1980-1984. He walked 256 times in those 5 years and hit 131
HR. His best year is in this period, the .369 average batting title championship, which is
supported by 27 doubles and another 27 homers with 50 walks. In 4 of those 5 years, he was over
.300, and even his weakest year in that time is a fine one: .280 average, 21 homers, 47
walks and a .461 slugging percentage.
of-1b-3b 384 points
He got his average over .300 twice in a full season. He never won any awards, but did hit 20
or more homers seven times.
of 374 points
He hit over .300 in 3 seasons in which he batted enough to qualify for a batting title,
finishing in the top 3 in each of those seasons. He had speed, leading the league in triples
5 times, three of them with double digit totals. He won a stolen base crown as well and
pilfered 20 or more bases 8 times and 10-19 bases another 8 times. His career high in HR was
18, the only time he had more than 15. More often than not, he was in the single digits in
of 293 points
He turned 27 in April 2004 and had 293 rtg2 points by the end of 2003. He began as a middle
infielder, but prospered when he was moved full-time to the outfield. He has always known
how to draw walks, so every one of his seasons so far boasts at least a .350 OBP. He won a
batting title in 2002, his first of 2 seasons over .300. In 2003, he boosted his career best in
HR from 19 to 34. I'd think that the majors have noticed him by now. He's won Gold Gloves
and Best Nines in each of the last 2 seasons. He also has an independent streak for a
Japanese player, choosing to play in the industrial leagues rather than for the Buffaloes
after they selected him #1 in 1995.
of 284 points
He had one season over .300, but was usually well below that as his career .249 average would
attest. Really, he was only worth much in 1949-1954, and even 1950 was subpar for such an
offense oriented season (.241, 21 HR). He hit over 20 HR in four of those years, though, and
won 2 Best Nines then as well. Basically, the rating system likes that high peak of
performance, and that's what puts him here.
p 515 points
The best Dragon ever, according to the rating system. He won 3 Sawamura Awards, a Best Nine
and a MVP. He had two 32 win seasons and 6 seasons total with at least 23 wins. He led the
league in wins and strikeouts twice each, and once each in ERA and winning percentage. His
ERA was under 2 every season from 1954 through 1958, and he pitched one no hitter.
p 339 points
This 5 foot 7 inch tall, 139 pound right hander won over 20 games twice. He began his career
as a catcher and played a fair amount in the field even after becoming a pitcher in 1946. His
career batting average was .239, not bad for someone playing a lot in a deadball era.
p 284 points
Though his best seasons were in relief, he started nearly half the games he appeared in. He's
another example of how Japanese managers have loved workhorse starters and undervalued relief
p 252 points
He led the league in strikeouts and ERA once each, both in 1985. He pitched his whole career
for this franchise, finishing with a 122-102 record and a 3.44 ERA in 1940.2 innings.
p 242 points
He began his career as a reliever, but then he was switched to a starting role. If you look
at his ERAs, it seems clear the change didn't help. He won an ERA title as a reliever and
led the league in saves three times.
p 226 points
In his first 4 years with over 100 IP, his ERA was only over 2.00 once, at 2.29. He won 20
and 24 games in a season, and pitched a no hitter.
p 224 points
He led the league in saves in 1974 with 10, the first season that statistic was kept in NPB.
He did a lot of relief work, and seeems to have been effective at it. Generally, the more
games he started, the higher his ERAs were. He later became the most successful manager of
this franchise and managed the 2003 Tigers to the pennant.
p 221 points
He only lasted 5 seasons, but the first two were 35 and 30 win efforts, respectively. As a
rookie, he led the league with a 1.70 ERA, and in his sophomore year, his ERA was 2.23.
However, those marks came at the price of his career, since he was used 429.1 inninings as a
rookie and another 362.1 the following year. He only pitched a total of 1136 innings in his
career, so that and the fact his ERAs ballooned to 3.83, 4.19 and finally 10.80 (in 18 innings)
pretty clearly tells us he had arm troubles. He won a Best Nine for his rookie year.
p 210 points
After his first three seasons, he had pitched 701.2 innings, had a career ERA of 1.85, and was
only 22. Unfortunately, he had only 903.1 innings of pitching left in his arm. It seems that
the combination of 582.1 innings to win 20 games in each of the 1957 and 1958 seasons plus
the Japanese training method of having pitchers throw hard even on off days was too much for
his arm to take.
mgr 18.13 points
He won pennants for this franchise in 1988 and 1999 among the eight seasons he led them to
records over .500.
Greatest Giant Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Sadaharu Oh
|| Shigeo Nagashima
|| Tetsuharu Kawakami
|| Victor Starffin
|| Hideki Matsui
|| Akira Bessho
|| Hideo Fujimoto
|| Shigeru Chiba
|| Tatsunori Hara
|| Isao Shibata
|| Wally Yonamine
|| Teruzo Nakao
|| Toshio Shinozuka
|| Takumi Otomo
c 202 points
His average was never over .278 in a season in which he had more than 65 AB, and he finished
with a career .236 mark. He still won 8 consecutive Best Nines, one in a season in which he
hit a measly .198! He didn't have much power, either, since his career season high in that
category is 12, and he only had 2 seasons of 10 or more. He wasn't big on taking walks,
either, so he made a rather small offensive contribution even in his best years. Those
awards clearly indicate he had a top-notch defensive reputation under these circumstances.
c 201 points
He had some decent walk totals and added a bit of power (in double figures in HR in 5 seasons),
but his averages were even worse than Mori's.
1b 1037 points
He led the league 5 times in average, 14 times in runs scored, 15 times in HR, 18 times in
walks, and 13 times in RBI. He was a dead pull hitter, and opposing teams used a Ted Williams
style shift on him which left most of the third base/left field side of the diamond open.
Over his 22 season career, he managed a .301 career mark with an average of 98.6 walks a year
for a .445 on base percentage. He also averaged 39.5 homers a season, which led to a .634
slugging average and season averages of 89.4 runs scored and 98.6 RBI. Those would be nice
career highs in NPB, but those are just run of the mill marks for Oh.
1b 581 points
He hit over .300 in 13 seasons, winning 5 batting titles to go with 3 RBI titles and 2 HR
crowns. Before his 1950 talk with Ted Williams,he hit 25, 24, and 29 HR. but had only hit
over .313 once. After that talk, he never again hit more than 15 HR and usually was in single
digits in that category. However, over the next six years, his lowest average was .320.
This change came after he turned 30, which indicates to me he was a) intelligent, and b) he
put in the large amount of hard work necessary to make such a change. Three of his batting
titles came after that influential talk with Williams.
2b 472 points
He won 7 Best Nines consecutively. Wally Yonamine says he was a good defender. He finished in
the top ten in average nine times despite hitting everything to right or center, was
usually in double figures in steals, and led the league in walks 4 times. He even had a little
power, managing double figures in HR 4 times.
2b 365 points
Warren Cromartie says of him in Slugging It Out in Japan "he was one hell of an
infielder, with a good arm, terrific range, and fast hands." Cromartie also claims Shinozuka
was quite a ladies man as well. Shinozuka was in the top ten in batting eight straight years.
3b 766 points
He started out with a splash, winning the HR and RBI titles as a rookie along with the second
best average in the league at .305 and 37 steals. Obviously, he won the Rookie of the Year
award. He hit over .300 in 11 seasons, hit 25 or more HR 12 times, two of them good enough
to lead the league. He had good speed as well, leading the league in triples twice and with
double figure steal totals in 8 of his first 9 seasons. He also led the league in walks twice.
3b-of 476 points
He won an MVP, 5 Best Nines (3 at third and 2 in the outfield) and 2 Gold Gloves for third
base. The only time he won a title in one of the Triple Crown categories was his 1983 RBI
title. However, he hit over .300 four times, and hit 25 or more homers 10 times.
ss 304 points
He played the last third of his career for the Carp. He usually reached double figures in
steals in a full year. He led the league in walks once and had 60 or more walks 8 times,
though several of those seasons were with the Carp.
ss 275 points
His managing career is his real claim to fame, deservedly so. He had an excellent year as a
rookie player, hitting .314 with 15 HR. He had 7 seasons of double digit HR, but only once
after that rookie season did his average exceed .257, and his final career mark was .240.
of 538 points
He's now in the major leagues. In Japan, he won 3 MVPs, 8 Best Nines, and 2 Gold Gloves. He
hit .290 or better every season in NPB except his rookie year of 1993 and 1995. He had over
100 walks 5 times, and OBPs over .400 seven times. He hit 34 or more HR 7 times in Japan,
including 2 seasons of 42 and 1 of 50. He had 100 or more RBI 5 times.
of 409 points
His record against touring major league teams is interesting--he was 48 for 185 (.260) with
42 walks for a .397 on base percentage. Add to that his excellent speed and centerfield
defense, and you've got yourself quite a player. He won 4 Best Nines and 5 Gold Gloves in the
first 6 years they were awarded--by which time he was 28 and had already played 11 seasons.
of 374 points
His career high in HR was 13, and he had decent walk totals, but his offensive value relied
very heavily on his batting average. His rookie year was short because he joined the team in
mid-season. For the next 6 years, he hit over .300, 4 of those .338 or higher. The next two
seasons he slipped under .300, but both times he finished third in the batting title race. In
the eight year stretch detailed above, his lowest finish in the batting title race was fifth.
of 338 points
His NPB career began at age 30, and he still was able to win a batting title and hit 28 or
more HR in the four seasons before breaking his thumb during the 1988 season. He hit .280 or
better when he played full-time, four times over .300 and once more at .293.
of-3b 292 points
He had good speed, leading the league once each in triples and steals. He was in double
figures in steals in 9 seasons. He won 4 Best Nines, and six Gold Gloves, 4 in the outfield
and 2 at third. Robert Whiting reports he possessed a powerful arm.
of 287 points
Generally regarded as a man who had far more considerable baseball talents than he ever made
good use of. He only qualified for the batting title 3 times, but each time he did, he hit
at least .312 and was in the top 5 in the league. He finished with a career .297 average.
He hit 69 HR in those 3 seasons he played enough to qualify for the batting titles, seasons
which came consecutively.
p 570 points
He won 2 MVPs and a Best Nine despite playing most of his career in a time when only MVPs were
awarded. He was in the top 4 in ERA in both halves of the 1937 and 1938 seasons plus 1939 to
1942. He twice had 38 or more wins. If you combine both halves of 1937 and 1938, he had 28
and 33 wins respectively. He had six years (including 1937 and 1938) with 26 or more wins.
p 527 points
He won 2 Sawamuras, 6 Best Nines, and 2 MVPs. He led the league in wins three times, and once
each in win percentage, ERA, and strikeouts. He was in the top six in ERA for 10 straight
years. Wally Yonamine described him as having a good fastball and curve, that he threw for strikes,
and challenged the hitters.
p 480 points
The leader in NPB for career winning percentage and ERA. In 1943, he pitched 19 shutouts en
route to a 34 win season with a record low ERA of 0.73 for someone who pitched enough to
qualify for the ERA title. He led the league 3 times in ERA, and from 1943 to 1950, he was
in the top 3 in ERA six of the seven seasons played (the 1945 season was suspended). He won
20 or more 4 times, led the league in wins once, winning percentage 3 times, and strikeouts
twice. He also pitched 2 no hitters in his career.
p 372 points
He won 20 or more games 3 times. He led the league in strikeouts twice and once each in wins and
ERA. He also pitched two no hitters in his career. As he aged, both his prodigious walk and
prodigious strikeout totals declined.
p 354 points
From 1951 to 1955, this submarine style hurler was always in the top six in ERA, winning that
title twice. He led the league in wins and winning percentage twice each. He won a MVP and
a Best Nine as well, and pitched a no hitter.
p 297 points
He has a JHOF-caliber resume despite the fact the rtg2 score is well below what I generally
call JHOF territory. He won a MVP, five Best Nines and four Gold Gloves. He led the league
in ERA 3 times and was in the top 6 eight times. He won 20 games twice and led the league in
wins 5 times. He led in winning percentage 3 times and in strikeouts once. His career
winning percentage is .652. That is the resume of a dominant pitcher of his time, and if he
can't get into the JHOF, very few if any pitchers of his time can do so. This case and a
few other recent pitchers led to an article examining what standards we should use to look at
more modern pitchers, which can be found here.
p 296 points
He led the league in ERA once and was in the top 4 in that category 4 times. His 26 win 1972
season gave him his one league leadership in wins, and he led in winning percentage 3 times.
He won a MVP, a Sawamura, two Best Nines, and seven Gold Gloves. He added a no hitter to
his resume as well.
p 288 points
He only pitched enough in four seasons to qualify for the ERA title, and in those four seasons,
he was second twice, third once, and sixth the other time. He won 29 and 27 games in a season,
the 27 win season good for the league leadership in wins. He twice led the league in winning
percentage. Only pitched 1701 innings, so he got his plaque in the JHOF because of his
success as a manager. He won 2 MVPs and a Best Nine. Over half of his career innings (924.2
out of 1701) came in his first three seasons.
p 256 points
He never won any awards, but won 21 games in each of two seasons and had second and fourth
place finishes in the ERA race. Between 1962 and 1967, he qualified for the ERA title each
season with an ERA of 2.69 or less, won at least 17 games each year, and pitched a minimum of
227 innings a year. In 1968, he pitched a no hitter. While he may not quite be JHOF caliber,
he certainly was a quality pitcher.
The amazing amount of talent this franchise has had at its disposal has led to an equally
impressive amount of success. Five managers have achieved 20 or more success points for this
franchise alone, while no other franchise has more than two such managers.
Tetsuharu Kawakami   mgr 59.66 points
He is clearly the most successful Giant manager. He led the V-9 Giants to all their titles and added
two more Japan Series titles. He never lost a Japan Series, and never had a season of .500
mgr-honorable mention 46.43 points
He was the leader of the Giants in the 1950's and won eight pennants and 4 Japan Series
titles. Wally Yonamine says he was very disciplined and stingy with praise. He was also one of the
first Japanese managers to take advantage of righty/lefty matchups.
mgr-honorable mention 30.39 points
He won 5 pennants and 2 Japan Series titles. See below comment for a comparison of
Nagashima's and Fujimoto's careers.
Sadayoshi Fujimoto   mgr-honorable mention 29.42 points
The leader of the early Giants, he won 4 consecutive full season pennants and added the 1937
spring title and the 1938 fall title. His tenure with the franchise ended with him going into
wartime service, so it's likely he would have been ahead of Nagashima but for WWII. Fujimoto
had no playoffs in his time, so none of his six champion teams had a chance to add to their
regular season accomplishments. On the other hand, there were some awfully weak teams around
then, which helped Fujimoto attain high winning percentages and thus higher success point
scores. While it's a close call, I think I'd subjectively place Fujimoto ahead of Nagashima
in terms of success with the Giants.
mgr-honorable mention 23.19 points
He won 4 pennants and 2 Japan Series titles. Since all but three managers who won at least
two pennants are in the JHOF, he clearly deserves the plaque he received.
Greatest Swallows Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Masaichi Kaneda
|| Tsutomu Wakamatsu
|| Atsuya Furuta
|| Takahiro Ikeyama
|| Roberto Petagine
|| Toru Sugiura
c 447 points
Currently the third best player in franchise history, but has a real chance at taking the #2
spot from Wakamatsu. Even though he was born in 1965, he's still going strong. You've got to
wonder how long he can keep it up, especially if he keeps catching. To date, he's won 2 MVPs,
8 Best Nines and 9 Gold Gloves. He's also won a batting title and finished in the top 3 in
three other seasons. Most often is in the teens in homers, but has hit 20 or more 3 times and
has a career high of 30. He has hit .300 or better 7 times.
c 195 points
He won 2 Best Nines and 5 Gold Gloves at catcher. He was not overly impressive at the plate,
as evidenced by his career .245 average. As catchers have gone in NPB, though, he's been
1b 362 points
In his four seasons with the franchise, he captured a MVP, four Best Nines, and 3 Gold
Gloves. In his first four seasons, he never fell below 4th in the batting race. His low in
homers is 34, and he's walked at least 77 times each season. His low OBP is a superb
.432. and his low slugging percentage is similarly impressive, at .601. Lots of players
dream of having marks like that once in their careers. He is now with the Giants.
1b-of 316 points
He won 2 Best Nines, both in the outfield. In his first three seasons in Japan, he hit 105
homers and was in the top 5 in average each season as well.
1b-of 315 points
He won 4 Best Nines, 3 in the outfield and one at first. He only hit over .300 once, but hit
20 or more HR 8 times. He was durable as well, playing every game from 1987 through 1995.
1b 276 points
He was more impressive when he was with the Flyers, primarily because his HR numbers were
better. As a Swallow, he hit 20 or more HR 7 times, and hit .300 or better 5 times, finishing
as high as third in the batting race.
2b 298 points
He hit .295 or better 7 times, finishing in the top six in the batting race 4 times. He also
hit 22 or more HR 7 times, and slugged over .500 5 times. That's a formidable bat, especially
for a middle infielder.
2b 212 points
He had only six seasons as a regular. He hit 21 homers for his career high and had another
season of 15, but those are his only two seasons in double figures. His rookie average of
.299 was his career high on his way to a .266 career mark.
3b 247 points
His best season was 1963, when he hit an even .300 with 14 HR. He never got his average over
.270 in any other season, and his career high in homers was 15. He was durable, playing in
879 straight games in his first 6 seasons.
3b 218 points
He actually is 1 point behind Fujio Sumi, but since
Iwamura was born February 1979 and is still with the franchise, I went with him since it's
almost certain Iwamura will pass him. His first season as a full time player was 2000.
Iwamura had an excellent 2002 season, hitting .320 with 23 HR for a .390 OBP and .531 slugging
percentage. Those numbers are all his career highs, as were his 58 walks and his fourth place
finish in the batting race. Unfortunately, he only was able to play in 60 games in 2003 due
to a wrist injury. He has won two Gold Gloves at third and a Best Nine there as well.
ss 416 points
He retired after the 2002 season. He hit 18 or more homers 10 times, reaching a high of 34.
He had a career high of .303, but no other seasons over .279, finishing with a career average
of .262. That's still fairly good for a middle infielder having a rather long career.
ss 190 points
Born Novermber 1970, he is still playing for the Swallows. He has almost no home run power,
with only 20 in his career in over 3500 AB. He doesn't walk a lot either, but he has a
career .275 average. He once hit .300, and had double digit steals in 5 seasons, though his
career high in that category is 16. His real claim to fame is his glove, as he is a 6 time
Gold Glove shortstop. I chose him over Toyoda, who
had 194 points for the Swallows because a) he's active and almost certain to pass Toyoda,
b) when Toyoda was a Swallow, he was in the final seven years of his career and essentially
was a part time first baseman shortstop for the last five years, and c) the fact Miyamoto is
perceived to be an excellent defender makes it likely his score undervalues his contribution
to the team.
of 471 points
He won a MVP, 2 Gold Gloves, and 9 Best Nines to go with 2 batting titles. He hit 20 HR on
two occasions, but was in the teens another 8 times. He was over .300 12 times when batting
enough to qualify for the batting title, and was among the top 3 in average 7 times.
of-1b 360 points
He hit over .300 in 3 seasons in which he qualified for a batting title, and had a career .284
average. His career high in homers was 34 in 1985.
of 268 points
Carlos Bauer's generally quite valuable book incorrectly lists him as a Lion throughout his
career when in fact he played for this franchise. He hit 20 or more HR 3 times, but never
had a season with an average over .280. His career average is .238, which means his power was
actually rather impressive to get his slugging percentage to .401.
of 234 points
In 1955, he hit .280 with 31 homers as a 21 year old, and then in 1956, he only played 57
games. From that point forward, he had only one season over .240, at .258, and that came in
too few at bats to qualify for the batting title. He had hit 20 homers in 1954, and slugged
21 in 1957, but otherwise his high after 1955 was 10. That record makes me very suspicious of
a serious injury in late 1955 or in 1956, possibly a beaning. It's unlikely that it was a
leg injury, because he had 5 seasons of double digit steals after 1956, including his career
high of 28. He won a Best Nine in 1955.
p 653 points
He's far and away the best player the Swallows have ever had. He won three Best Nines and
three Sawamuras spread over 4 different seasons. He won 30 or more twice, and 20 or more
in 14 consecutive seasons, frequently for awful clubs. He led in strikeouts 10 times and
has the most career strikeouts by a pitcher, 4490. He led in ERA 3 times and was in the top
10 in that category 8 times. He was a true workhorse, pitching 300 or more innings in 14
consecutive years on his way to the most innings pitched in NPB at 5526.2 innings. He also
pitched two no hitters in his career. He had control problems early in his career,
surrendering at least 4 walks per 9 innings pitched in each of his first 4 seasons. After
that, his control was better, but not spectacular by any means, since he walked nearly 3 men
per nine innings pitched for his career.
p 286 points
He won 21 games for his career high, but was in the teens in wins another 7 seasons. He won
an ERA title and was in the top six in that category a total of 5 times. He was durable, as
seen by the facts he pitched 18 years and 3240 innings. Won the Sawamura Award in 1978.
p 253 points
Now with the Chicago White Sox, and the leader in saves in NPB at the end of 2003 with 260. He
will likely surrender that title back to Kazuhiro Sasaki since Sasaki has returned to Japan.
Takatsu has been a reliever throughout his career, and saved 19 or more in 9 NPB seasons to
date. In six seasons, his ERA was 2.61 or lower, though he never pitched enough innings to
be eligible for the ERA crown.
p 209 points
Led the league in ERA in each of his first two seasons with marks of 2.08 and 2.02, in that
order. He remained effective through his seventh season, winning between 14 and 17 games in
each of his fourth through seventh seasons. He only pitched for 3 years after that, rather
ineffectively. His career total of innings pitched is a relatively low 1508.1.
p 151 points
From this pitcher on, the Swallows have relatively slim pickings. The choices are between
hurlers who were not very effective or those who didn't pitch much. Obana is more in the
former category, with a lifetime 3.82 ERA and only 3 seasons with an ERA under 3.45.
p 139 points
Ishii is now in the majors with the Dodgers. He had over a strikeout an inning in seven of
his last 9 NPB seasons, and is over that mark in his NPB career. He never showed great
control while pitching in NPB, with 4.5 or more walks per 9 IP in every one of his 10 NPB
seasons. Never received any awards, but did win an ERA title in 2000, and did pitch a
no-hitter in NPB in 1997.
p 138 points
He only had 2 seasons with an ERA under 3.21, and one of those was in a mere 29.1 innings.
His career ERA was 4.01, so its safe to say he wasn't especially effective.
p 137 points
He only pitched 1258.1 career innings, 385.2 of which were for the Giants. In his first and
third seasons, he had some quality performances. As a rookie, he won 18 witha 2.51 ERA, which
was sixth best in the league. In his third year, he won 15 and led the league in ERA at 1.90.
p 133 points
He pitched 10 seasons for this franchise, posting second and sixth place finishes in ERA in
that time. He also pitched another 8 seasons for the Giants, but only recorded about 20% of
his 1715.2 career IP for them.
mgr 20.07 points
The clear choice as the most successful manager in Swallows history is Nomura. He led them to
4 pennants, winning the Japan Series with all but one of those teams.
Greatest Tiger Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Fumio Fujimura
|| Tadashi Wakabayashi
|| Masayuki Kakefu
|| Koichi Tabuchi
|| Taira Fujita
|| Minoru Murayama
|| Yoshio Yoshida
|| Akinobu Mayumi
|| Akinobu Okada
|| Masayasu Kaneda
|| Masaaki Koyama
c 477 points
He played 10 years for the Tigers, then finished his career as a DH for the Lions. Overall,
he hit 40 or more HR 3 times, once leading the league. He hit 25 or more HR 9 times, and
added 3 seasons of 85 or more walks. He won a slugging percentage title and once finished
third in average with a .303 mark. He slugged over .500 nine times. He had advantages and
disadvantages in the power department. A clear advantage was his size, 6' 3" and 210 pounds--
which helped him overcome the disadvantage of playing in Japan's most spacious stadium, Koshien,
which rivals major league dimensions.
c 257 points
He played a total of 15 seasons, the first seven for the Tigers. He won 3 of his Best Nines
and two of his top 3 finishes in average for the franchise. He hit .282 for his career and
had some speed, as evidenced by 3 seasons of 14-16 steals and 4 seasons of 7 or more triples.
1b 341 points
Played only 22 games into his sixth season before the brouhaha over his son's brain tumor
started. He led the league in slugging 4 times, had a career average of .337 and a career
slugging mark of .660. The last mark was made possible by his 220 career homers. His two
Triple Crowns provide all the times he led the league in those three categories.
1b 315 points
He had 8 seasons of double digit home run totals, but never more than 14. He only had four
seasons in which he played enough to qualify for a batting title, but finished in the top five
in three of those years. He played in 20 seasons and had a career .272 average.
2b-3b 379 points
He twice had seasons of .300 or more, finishing second in the batting race in 1985. He had
between 14 and 26 homers each season between 1980 to 1991, except for the 35 he hit in 1985.
2b-ss 318 points
He retired after the 2001 season. He was in the top five in average 3 times, hitting .296 or
better while qualifying for the batting title in 7 seasons. He only hit more than 5 homers
in one season, when he reached 8. He won 2 Best Nines and 3 Gold Gloves at second.
3b-1b 551 points
He barely edges Wakabayashi for the title of the best
Tiger ever. He won an MVP and 6 Best Nines, all at third. He also pitched effectively,
compiling a 34-11 record. He was in the top five in average 7 times, winning the title with
his career best of .362 in 1950. He hit 20 or more HR in 7 consecutive seasons after the war,
leading that category twice. He led in RBI 3 times and once in slugging percentage as well.
A truly superb player.
3b 508 points
He led the league in HR three times, hitting 32 or more in 6 seasons and 23-27 in 3 more. He
also led the league in RBI once and slugging percentage twice. He had good patience at the
plate, leading the league in walks 3 times. He hit .296 or better in 8 seasons, finishing in
the top 5 five times.
3b 310 points
He is clearly better than any choice for the sixth Tiger outfielder, so he makes the team. He
had mid-level power, with 11-21 in 5 seasons. He never got his average over .273 for a season,
but had five consecutive years where his averages are bunched between .267 and .273. He had
good speed, with 7 consecutive years of 18 or more steals. He won one Best Nine.
ss-1b 471 points
His career high in homers is 28, and other than that season, he had 10 seasons of 11-19 HR.
He won a batting title and hit .290 or better in 8 seasons in which he qualified for the
ss-2b 407 points
The only reason I'm not sure Fujita should beat Yoshida out at shortstop is defense. Former
teammate Gene Bacque said Yoshida was "as good a double play guy as you'd want." Yoshida
never got into double figures in homers, but was in the top 4 in average four times. He had
20 or more steals in 9 seasons, with a high of 51. He led the league in steals twice.
of-ss 385 points
He played four seasons for the Lions without getting more than 61 AB. In 1978, the Lions made
him their full-time shortstop, only to trade him after the season to the Tigers. The Tigers
gave him four more years as a full-time shortstop, then spent 2 years trying him at second
before moving him to the outfield. He hit 23-34 homers in six seasons, and 13-17 in 7 more.
He won a batting title and hit .300 or more in 3 seasons in which he qualified for the batting
title. He had good speed, with 5 seasons of 20 or more steals.
of 371 points
His career best in homers was 10, but he was in double figures in triples 6 times, leading
that category 4 times. He had 19 or more steals 5 times, and 10-13 in 5 more seasons. He won
a batting title and finished in the top three in average 4 times. He was over .300 each of the
times he finished in the top 3 in average and added one other season over .300. He led the
league in walks once, but had at least one walk per two games played in nine seasons.
of 317 points
This rating is limited to his years with the Tigers, so it doesn't include his five years with
the Orions. He had good speed, leading the league in triples twice and having 20 or more
steals in five seasons (four of the 20+ steal seasons were for the Tigers). He never hit more
than 12 homers in a year. He must have crowded the plate some, since he led the league in
HBP 5 times for the Tigers and twice more for the Orions. He won a batting title and two
slugging percentage crowns, and was in the top five in batting 4 times for the Tigers and
twice more for the Orions. He finished with a career .297 average.
of 262 points
He was in the top 4 in average in both halves of the 1937 season and had 95 walks in only 93
games that year. He led the league in slugging in the 1937 fall campaign, and led in RBI in
both the 1937 fall and 1938 spring seasons. He was 27-9 as a pitcher, leading the league in
win percentage in the 1936 fall "season" and finishing second in the 1937 spring campaign.
He pitched only 274.1 innings, though.
of 225 points
He hit 10-15 homers in nine consecutive seasons, and .296 or better in 3 seasons in which he
qualified for the batting title. He did not capture any awards.
p 547 points
He led the league in ERA twice and was in the top five in that category a total of 4 times.
From 1939 through 1944, his ERA was never above 1.81! He won 20 or more 6 times, and led the
league in wins and winning percentage in 1944.
p 419 points
He won a MVP, 3 Sawamuras, and 3 Best Nines. The Sawamuras and Best Nines overlapped twice,
which means that he was arguably the best pitcher in the league 4 times. He led the league in
ERA 3 times and was second three more times. He led the league in strikeouts and wins twice
each, and once in winning percentage. He won 22-25 games in 5 seasons.
p 360 points
He won a Sawamura as a Tiger in 1962. He had 20 or more wins in four seasons for the Tigers,
and led the league once each in ERA, strikeouts and winning percentage for them. As a Tiger,
he was in the top 4 in ERA 3 times. Former teammate Gene Bacque says he had great control.
Then he was traded to the Orions and added many of the same distinctions to his resume while
with that club.
p 341 points
He was in the top four in ERA in the 1937 fall, 1938 spring and fall, and 1939 seasons.
His 21 wins from both halves of 1938 are his career high. He led the league in winning
percentage in the 1937 fall, 1938 spring, 1939 and 1947 campaigns. He had a career winning
percentage of .645 (127-70). He actually played more games in the outfield than he pitched
despite his less than stellar .245 career average.
p 308 points
He won 20 or more games 3 times and led the league in ERA once. He had a career winning
percentage of .606 despite only being able to exceed 100 strikeouts twice. He was only over
3.30 K/9 IP once in his career. Even so, he pitched a no hitter in 1948. His control was
good, only walking more batters than he struck out in his rookie and final seasons.
p 307 points
Only rates this low because we're only considering his career as a Tiger. He led the league
in strikeouts each of his first six seasons. While he was a Tiger, he was a starter who also
relieved, finishing a dozen of more games in relief in eight of his nine seasons with the
club. His arm started to pay a price, and this fact plus the increase acceptance of closers in
Japan were major reasons he became a full time closer. He led the league in ERA once, and was
in the top 5 in ERA a total of five seasons. He won 20 or more 4 times, twice good enough to
lead the league. He also pitched a no hitter as a Tiger. When he became a full time closer,
he saved 19 or more 6 times, leading the league each time he did so. He was an MVP twice as a
reliever, and was a Best Nine selection as a Tiger in 1968.
p 293 points
He had 20 or more wins twice and led the league in winning percentage once. He finished in the
top 5 in ERA once.
p 256 points
A lefty who worked primarily as a reliever. He once led the league in saves and saved 24 or
more in two seasons. He finished third in the ERA race on one occasion.
p 229 points
He began his career with the Orions and came to the Tigers in 1964. He never had more than 15
wins, but he was in the top six in ERA five times, all but one for the Tigers.
Tadashi Wakabayashi   mgr 14.66 points
He was a player-manager who succeeded in both roles. In view of his success as a manager,
you've got to wonder why he didn't get any other opportunities. My two favorite possible
explanations are: 1) he was outspoken, and/or 2) he was born outside Japan (though to
Japanese parents). My guess is that the first was the main factor.
There were several teams which competed between 1936 and 1943 which ceased operation no
later than 1944 without merging into a team which we could associate with one of the twelve
franchises covered in this article. These short-lived teams were generally in the league
cellar. When you combine the limited number of seasons these teams played with their
generally poor quality, you'd have to do a lot of digging to come up with what would still be
a lousy all-star team. For reasons which should be obvious, I chose not to do that.
Hisanori Karita made
it to the Japanese Hall of Fame, but I do not believe that his NPB exploits alone justify his
selection. Perhaps if you add in his accomplishments outside of NPB he deserves the honor,
but that wouldn't be relevant in discussing great players from these defunct teams.
The only player to demonstrate greatness while playing for these defunct teams is
Jiro Noguchi. He scored 545
points while pitching for the Senators team from 1939 through 1943. After WWII ended, he
joined the Braves and was a valuable hurler for them from 1946 through 1953. In each of his
five seasons as a Senator, Noguchi had 25 or more wins, leading the league with 40 in 1942.
He racked up an astonishing 2096.1 IP in those five seasons, leading the league in ERA twice
and strikeouts once. He was in the top six in ERA in each of those five seasons as well, with
his ERAs under 1.45 in all but 1939.
Greatest Buffaloes Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Yutaka Fukumoto
|| Ichiro Suzuki
|| Masahiro Doi
|| Hideji Kato
|| Tokuji Nagaike
|| Hisashi Yamada
|| Keishi Suzuki
|| Tetsuya Yoneda
|| Takao Kajimoto
|| Tuffy Rhodes
|| Hiromi Matsunaga
|| Norihiro Nakamura
|| Daijiro Oishi
|| Akitoshi Kodama
|| Boomer Wells
|| Toru Ogawa
c 191 points
He won 3 consecutive Best Nines at catcher while capturing the Gold Gloves at the position each
year as well. He nabbed another Gold Glove in his career to make his total four. He had a
little power, hitting 51 HR in his 3 Best Nine years (19, 15, and 17 in that order). His
career average was .254.
c 182 points
He shared the Buffaloes catching duties with Nashida from 1973 to 1985. It wasn't a platoon
arrangement, since both men batted right handed. Arita won 2 Gold Gloves, but only played
enough to qualify for one batting title. He hit .247 for his career, but also had power,
slamming 128 career homers in only 3091 at bats, which is one homer every 24.1 at bats, or
about 19 homers in a full NPB season.
1b 421 points
He was an 11 time all-star, won a MVP, 5 Best Nines, and 3 Gold Gloves. He led the league in
average twice, RBI 3 times, and slugging percentage once. Kato homered 19 or more times in 11
seasons, all but one of them for the Braves. He finished in the top four in average a total
of 8 times, and drew 50 or more walks in 11 seasons.
1b 366 points
He led the league in slugging percentage twice and was in the top five in average 6 times. He
also won 4 RBI crowns. His career average was .317, and his career slugging percentage was
2b 392 points
He hit over .300 once in a season he qualified for the batting title, finishing second that
year. His career average was a solid .274. He twice hit 20 or more homers, but only had five
other seasons in double figures. He led the league in steals four times and in triples three
times, so he clearly had speed. He was in double figures in steals in 16 of his 17 seasons, 8
of them with 20 or more.
2b 325 points
He hit .311 one year to finish second in the batting race. He led the league in walks and
slugging percentage twice each. He had 30 or more homers in 3 of his first 4 seasons in NPB,
and 20 in the fourth. He won 2 Best Nines at second base in his wonderful NPB career,
especially given that he didn't arrive there until age 34. After his first two years, he went
through a transition to first baseman. His NPB career lasted 7 years and his career average
was .275 with a career .385 on base percentage and .536 career slugging percentage. Only the
brevity of his NPB career kept him from having Japanese Hall of Fame caliber accomplishments.
3b 394 points
With a solid 2004 campaign, he could move up to the second best all-time Buffalo. He has won
5 Best Nines and 4 Gold Gloves, all at third. I think he's already turned in a JHOF-caliber
career, but a few more solid years would make his selection much more certain. He is already
30 and coming off a subpar 2003 season, though nagging injuries were said to be the cause.
In 1998, he took a step forward in taking walks, and this also seemed to help his average.
Thus, his on base percentages through 1997 were never over .341, while from 1998 on, they've
never been under .357, even when he hit .236 in 2003. His isolated power (slugging percentage
minus average) jumped in the post 1998 period a bit as well. He hit 278 homers from 1995
through 2003, never less than 11 and 4 seasons of 31 or more.
3b 395 points
He was in the top six in average 7 times. He stole 20 or more bases 7 times, led the league in
triples 3 times and had 16 or more homers 7 times. He also had good walk totals. He won 5
Best Nines and 4 Gold Gloves, all at third. A very nice overall package of talents.
3b-Honorable Mention 368 points
He hit .300 or better 6 times, and finished in the top 5 in average five times. He only hit
20 homers once, and 10-13 5 times. He stole 10-16 bases in eight seasons.
ss-2b 225 points
He played almost all of his career in the deadball early days, so his .237 career average is
actually decent. He walked a fair amount as well, and when you add the fact that even in
the much shorter seasons of the era that he had 3 seasons of 20 or more steals, he did make a
contribution to the offense. He won the only Best Nine given to a shortstop before 1947 in
1940. He had no power, with an isolated power (slugging percentage minus average) of
ss 219 points
He played 3 seasons in the middle of his career for the Dragons, which kept him from being the
Blue Wave/Brave shortstop with the highest rtg2 score. He had excellent speed, stealing 85
and 56 bases in consecutive seasons, and leading the league in steals 3 times. He stole 20 or
more bases in 6 seasons. Won one Best Nine at short.
of 548 points
He won a MVP and 10 Best Nines in the outfield. He led the league in steals for 13
consecutive seasons, including the time he set the single season record of 106. He wasn't
winning the crown with 25 steal seasons, either, since each of the times he won the crown he
stole at least 54 bases. In the season after he won his 13th consecutive stolen base
crown, he stole 55, and the next 3 seasons, he stole 36, 23 and 23. He led the league in
triples 8 times and had double figures in homers 11 times. He also hit .300 or better in 7
of 499 points
Ichiro is clearly taking aim at overtaking Fukumoto as the best member of this franchise ever.
He won 3 Pacific League MVPs, 7 Best Nines, and 7 Gold Gloves in Japan. His NPB career
average is .353, which is 33 points above the career record. Unfortunately for Ichiro, one
must have 4000 at bats to qualify for that record, and at present he is 381 short. If one
gives him an 0 for 381 to qualify, he is just about at the record. From 1994 until he went to
the majors, he had between 12 and 25 homers, an average of at least .342, an on-base percentage
of at least .412, a slugging percentage of at least .504, and at least double figures in
steals. Obviously, that is a very impressive run of seven seasons.
of 459 points
He hit .296 or better 8 times, three of which were good enough to place him in the top 3 in
average. He led in homers once, but not with his career high of 40 but rather with a year of
34. He had another season with 30 homers and 20-29 in twelve seasons. He once led the league
in walks, and slugged .500 or better 7 times. He won 3 Best Nines, two in the outfield and
once as a DH. He played his last 7 seasons for the Lions, but still did enough as a Buffalo
to be their best player ever.
of 418 points
He led the league in homers, RBI and slugging percentage 3 times apiece. He never finished
higher than 4th in average, though. He also led the league in walks once. His averages were
quite good, with 4 seasons in the top 5. He slugged over .500 in seven consecutive seasons in
which he qualified for a batting title.
of 396 points
He is now with the Giants. He has hit at least 22 homers in each of his 8 NPB seasons so far,
and has had 4 seasons of 40 or more. He has also posted good walk totals, so his career OBP
is excellent, .380. He has slugged over .600 three times and between .500 and .599 4 more
times. He has also been in the top 4 in average in two seasons, and has been awarded a MVP
and 5 Best Nines in the outfield.
1b-of 356 points
He hit over .300 twice, cracking the top five in average once. He only managed 20 HR once, but
did contribute some with some decent walk totals.
p 418 points
He led the league in wins 3 times and won 20 or more 4 times. He led the league in winning
percentage 3 times and ERA twice. He finished in the top 5 in ERA a total of 9 times.
p 404 points
He won 3 Best Nines and was an All-Star 15 times. As a child, Suzuki's father forced this
natural right-hander to throw lefty. He pitched 2 no hitters in his NPB career. He led the
league in wins 3 times and winning percentage once. He won 20 or more 8 times, 5 of them
consecutively. He led the league in ERA once and was in the top 6 a total of six times. He
led the league in strikeouts 8 times, six of them consecutively. Leron Lee calls Suzuki the best
lefty he ever faced, including Carlton. Lee says he had a running fastball and and outstanding
p 402 points
He won a MVP and led the league in wins once though he won 20 or more 8 times. He pitched in
a total of 22 seasons, 19 of them with at least 100 IP. In those 19 seasons with at least 100
IP, he had a winning record in 17 of them. He was in double figures in wins in 18 consecutive
seasons. He led in ERA and strikeouts once each, and finished in the top 5 in ERA a total of
p 397 points
He won a Best Nine and led the league in strikeouts twice. He won 20 or more 4 times. However, he only managed to finish in the top 5 in ERA twice. He pitched 4200 innings in his career, and that durability certainly has some value. Hoever, durability without more value than this to back it up just isn't good enough for the Japanese Hall of Fame in my opinion.
p 324 points
He won a MVP, a Best Nine and 4 Gold Gloves. He had a career high of 20 wins, a mark he
reached only once. He led the league in ERA once and finished in the top 5 in that category
only 3 times total.
p 321 points
He was spectacular between 1940 and 1942, pitching a total of 1080 innings with a 77-38 record
and an ERA of 1.18 for the whole three years. He led the league with 30 wins in 1941, and,
starting with 1940, was 3rd, 2nd, and 6th in ERA. Beyond those three seasons, though, he never
pitched enough to qualify for an ERA title and pitched only 725 innings total, not very
p 274 points
He won an MVP and a Best Nine. He was truly impressive in his first 4 NPB seasons, leading in
wins, strikeouts and innings pitched in each of those seasons. He added an ERA title in his
rookie season and a league leadership in winning percentage as well as sixth and fourth place
finishes in the ERA race in his second and third years respectively. I think his record and
the courage required to fight to go to the majors and also succeed there means he deserves to
be inducted into the JHOF some day. Whether or not the hard feelings that were caused by his
efforts to free himself from NPB to go to the majors will prevent or delay his receiving that
honor is an open question.
p 264 points
He's still active, but he hasn't been effective since 1997. He won an ERA title and led the
league in saves in three consecutive seasons. He saved 21-26 games in five seasons. From
1992-1994, his ERA was never over 1.82, and over that period it was 1.73 in 306.2 innings
pitched. Those marks go a long way toward explaining how he could go 26-14 with 72 saves in
that time frame. He also won a Best Nine and a Gold Glove.
p 259 points
He wasn't nearly as good after the war as he had been between 1939-1943 for the Senators.
However, he won 24 games one season and was in the top five in ERA in another for the Braves.
He went 81-68 in 1351 for this franchise. The fact he pitched almost 2100 innings in five
years for the Senators probably diminished his later effectiveness for the Braves.
mgr 38.50 points
He won five pennants for the Braves and two pennants for the Buffaloes plus won one of the
Pacific League split seasons for the Buffaloes, but then lost in the playoff for the pennant.
Despite all that success, he never won a Japan Series.
mgr 36.92 points
He won 3 Japan Series and 5 pennants plus another season in which he won a split season in the
Pacific League but lost the playoff for the pennant.
Greatest Fighter Players
|| Isao Harimoto
|| Yukio Tanaka
|| Katsuo Osugi
|| Shoichi Busujima
|| Michihiro Ogasawara
c 237 points
He won one Best Nine and one Gold Glove, both at catcher. He achieved double figures in homers
five times and his high in average in a season in which he batted enough to qualify for the
batting title was .275.
c 199 points
He's similar to Tamura in many ways: he won a Best Nine and a Gold Glove, both at catcher, he
hit double digit four-baggers 7 times, and his high average when batting enough to qualify
for the batting title was .270.
1b 403 points
He won 5 Best Nines and a Gold Glove at first. He was in the top six in average 6 times, led
the league in homers and RBI twice each, and in slugging percentage once. His average was
over .300 seven times, and he slugged over .500 in 10 seasons. He smacked 40 or more homers
3 times, 30-39 five times, and 20-29 six times.
1b 347 points
He's still active and playing well. He has won 3 Best Nines, 2 at first and one at his new
position of third. He's won five Gold Gloves, 4 at first and one at third. He's won two
batting titles and added two other finishes in the top 3. He has slugged 25-32 homers in
each of the last five years, which are the only ones in which he has gotten over 100 AB. In
each of the last four campaigns, his average has been at least .329, his OBP at least .406,
and his slugging percentage at least .552.
1B 275 points
He won 3 Best Nines and 4 Gold Gloves at first. His career high in homers is 34, and he
backed that mark up with 4 other years of 22-26 round trippers. His career high seasonal
average is .310. He's a better choice than any choice for the sixth Fighter outfielder, so
he makes the team.
2b 211 points
He won a Best Nine and a Gold Glove at second. Jim Allen's 1995 Guide indicates his defense
was "great". Hit hit over .300 to finish third in the batting race, but never was over .270 in
any other season with at least 60 AB. He once hit 15 HR, more than double his next best total
of 7. His career average was .246. He had some speed, with 3 seasons of 20 or more steals
and 4 more of 11-15 steals.
2b 168 points
He's still active, with the franchise, and only 28 years old. He's never finished higher
than fourteenth in the batting race. He has 4 seasons of 11-15 steals. His career high in
on-base percentage is a mediocre .338, and his career high in slugging (minimum 10 AB) is a
less than rousing .394. Clearly, he's not a big offensive force. He's won a Best Nine and
two Gold Gloves to date.
3b-1b 327 points
In 2002, he went to the Tigers. He's won Best Nines at first and third, and a Gold Glove at
first and two more at third. He's drawn 100 walks in two different seasons, and has hit .286
or better in seasons where he played enough to qualify for a batting title six times, finishing
as high as second in the batting race on one occasion. He's had 3 seasons with OBP's over
.400. He has decent but not great power, with 15-21 homers in 6 straight seasons.
3b 297 points
He won 4 Gold Gloves and hit .290 or better in five full seasons. He once hit 33 homers, which
helped him surpass the .500 slugging mark that one season. He had 13-21 homers in seven years.
ss 409 points
He is now 36, and his career average at the end of 2003 was .265. His career best average was
.291, good enough for fifth in the batting race that season. He slugged .500 in 3 seasons,
and hit 20 or more HR six times. He's won 4 Best Nines and 5 Gold Gloves.
2b-ss 186 points
He's won 2 Best Nines, one at second and one at short. He won 2 Gold Gloves, both at second.
He really played much more at second than short, but this franchise is rather thin in quality
middle infielders after Tanaka. Oshita did hit .301 one year, and owns a solid .260 career
mark. He never hit more than 8 homers in a year, but had 19 or more steals 8 times. In 1971,
he had 33 steals in 35 attempts. He stole more bases in three seasons, but was only able to
succeed in over 80% of his attempts in one other season.
of 692 points
The best player this franchise has ever had by a considerable margin over Osugi and Tanaka.
He is the only player to amass 3000 hits in NPB. He beat long odds to simply make it to
professional baseball. Both his parents were Korean, which made life difficult in Japan due
to the Japanese antipathy toward Koreans. In 1944, Harimoto burned his right hand severely.
Only constant practice enabled him to simply grip a bat, much less play. He was a resident of
Hiroshima who narrowly escaped the atomic bombing of that city. He was an 18 time all-star,
won 1 MVP, and won 16 Best Nines.
of 388 points
He finished in the top 4 in batting 3 times and led the league in triples 4 times.
of 303 points
He won 2 Best Nines and six Gold Gloves. He hit .300 or better in 3 seasons in which he had
enough AB to qualify for a batting title. He also had speed, with six consecutive seasons of
30 or more steals, and another 6 seasons of 10-20 steals. He also led the league in triples
of 270 points
He's probably more famous as a Lion later in his career, since that team won championships
while he was there. However, he was better as a Flyer because that is where he recorded
all his league leading performances: once in triples, three times each in homers, average
and slugging. He hit 20 or more HR 4 times, only once as a Lion. He was in the top six in
average 8 times. He won a MVP and 8 Best Nines.
of 261 points
He led the league in walks once and had 33-35 homers in 4 of his 5 seasons in NPB, "slipping"
to 22 in his final year. He slugged over .500 in each of his first 4 years as well despite
coming to Japan at age 30.
p 327 points
He won 20 or more 5 times, including 30 in 1961. He had 4 seasons in the top five in ERA.
p 320 points
After his second season, his career won-loss mark was 56-47, and had finished first and fourth
in the ERA race in those two seasons. He also pitched 879 of his career 1725 innings in those
two years, and was never again as effective.
p 276 points
He won 19 or more games in 4 seasons, led the league in strikeouts twice, and was
among the top six in ERA twice.
p 244 points
He had 20 or more wins in 4 of his first 5 seasons. Unfortunately, almost all of his
accomplishments can be found in those five seasons. He pitched 1256.2 of his 1548.2 career
innings in those five years, which began as a 17 year old rookie. He threw 207.2 innings that
year but only 93 as an 18 year old. Starting with his third year, he pitched at least 286
innings in each of three seasons. As a result, he was essentially washed up by age 22. He
claimed a Best Nine and a strikeout crown and placed in the top six in ERA in 3 seasons.
p 225 points
He once won 20 games and finished in the top 5 in ERA four times. He also pitched a no
p 217 points
He only pitched 5 seasons for this franchise, but almost 60% of his career innings (1232 out
of 2055.1). He also got 84 of his 128 career wins for them, including his career high of 24
in 1970. He had a good year in his first one away from this franchise, in 1974 with the
Orions. He led the league in wins for his second time (1970 wasn't the other), and had his
third and final top five finish in ERA.
p 189 points
In the years 1961-1963, he was a combined 56-28 and won one ERA title and finished third in ERA
another time. For that stretch of 3 years, he had a combined ERA of 2.31 and a 25 win year
in 1961. He pitched 554 innings outside that 3 year run and was not nearly as effective.
p 173 points
He was in the top 5 in ERA four times and led the league in wins once. He won a Best Nine and
two Gold Gloves. He pitched a no-hitter in 1995. In 1999, he became a relief ace after
pitching only 47 innings in 1997 and 1998 combined. He had 20 saves in 1999 for what turned
out to be his last hurrah in his career, which ended in 2001.
p 160 points
He was in the top six in ERA 5 times, and pitched less than 1400 of his 1621.2 career innings
for this franchise. He also pitched a no hitter.
mgr 11.85 points
He led the team to the 1981 pennant and the 1982 playoffs, but lost in the playoffs each time.
That's still good enough to be the most successful manager in franchise history.
Greatest Hawks Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Katsuya Nomura
|| Hiromitsu Kadota
|| Yoshinori Hirose
|| Tadashi Sugiura
|| Kazuto Yamamoto
|| Mitsuo Minagawa
|| Tokuji Iida
c 838 points
He leads a strong Hawk catching contingent, which has the second best player ever (him), a
possible JHOF candidate in Jojima, and another of the 20
best catchers in NPB history in Yoshinaga.
Nomura won a Triple Crown, 4 MVPs 19 Best Nines, and 1 Gold Glove (they weren't awarded unitl
his 19th season). He led the league in RBI 7 times, 6 of them consecutively; HR 9 times (8 of
them in a row) and in slugging and walks twice each. He hit .290 or better in 10 seasons and
slugged .500 or better in 13 years. He caught nearly every Hawk game from 1956 through 1973,
and had a career total of 2921 games caught. He played in every game in six seasons, and once
caught every inning of a 150-game season, which included 16 double headers.
c 282 points
He has won a MVP, 4 Best Nines and 5 Gold Gloves, all at catcher. He has been in the top six
in average three times and has hit 90 homers in the 2001-2003 seasons, and has slugged .500
twice. He was born in 1976, so if he can stay relatively healthy, he has a good shot at the
c 282 points
He won 2 Best Nines at catcher. He knew how to take a walk, which helped him to a career .367
OBP mark. His best seasons in HR were 29, 20, and 19, but no others over 16. Still, he had
2 years when he qualified for a batting title and slugged over .500. He only qualified for
the batting title 7 times, but in 4 of them he hit .290 or better on his way to a career .278
1b-of 368 points
He played 10 seasons for this franchise then 7 more for the Swallows. He led the league in
walks once and RBI twice and was in the top 5 in average six times. He had some power, with
18 or more homers 4 times and a slugging percentage over .500 three times. He won a MVP and
five Best Nines, 4 at first and one in the outfield.
1b 277 points
Matsunaka was born in 1973, so I wouldn't regard him as much of a MLB prospect. He may be
able to mount a JHOF career if he can maintain the level he's attained for the past five years
for another 4 seasons or so. He's had 3 seasons over .300 in that time, has been over .500
slugging 4 times, and has hit 28 or more HR all but once, the exception being 23, and has had
two seasons with an OBP ov .400 or better. That performance has netted him a MVP and 2 Best
Nines. We'll see if he can keep this up long enough to have a JHOF-caliber career.
2b 281 points
He won a MVP and 5 Best Nines to go along with a batting title. He added four seasons of 18
or 19 homers as well. He tailed off rather young, having his last season as a regular at age
28. He had speed, with 4 seasons in a row of 24 or more steals, 124 total in those 4 years.
3b-2b 421 points
He hit .295 for his career, despite losing many of what should have been the best years of his
career to WWII. He led the league in homers with 10 in 1939 and won 3 MVPs and a Best Nine at
second. I wonder if one or more of the MVPs were at least partly in recognition of his dual
status of player/manager. He had only that 1939 season before age 29, but even so he led the
league in RBIs and walks once each and finished in the top six in average 3 times. He also
stole double digit bases in all but one of his eight seasons, stealing 20 or more 3 times.
3b-2b 317 points
He lost 2003 to injuries and then was involved in a controversial move in which he was sent
to the Giants for nothing. He also missed most of the 1998 season because of a conviction on
tax evasion charges. He had four seasons as a Hawk where he qualified for a batting title and
hit .286 or better. He has slugged .500 or better five times, largely because in all seven
seasons he qualified for a batting title as a Hawk, he hit at least 20 doubles and 24 HR. He's
hit 30 or more homers four times.
3b 290 points
He won 2 Best Nines at third. He led the league in walks twice and was in the top five in
average twice. He had good speed, leading the league in triples four times and stealing 23 or
more bases five times. He also had three part time seasons in which he stole between 14 and
16 bases. Unfortunately, he was only full-time for 5 years, and in the part-time years he
never averaged over .234.
ss 248 points
He won 4 Best Nines at short, and at least some of them had to be because of his glove. In
two of the years he won the award, he hit in the .260s. In the other two, he hit .238 and
.216! He did hit 22 homers in the season he hit .238, but only 7 in the .216
award-winning year. If he didn't win it with his glove that one year, what could he have
possibly won it with? He did have rather good walk totals, but those numbers have
tended to be ignored until recently. His best 3 years of stolen bases were consecutive, and
he amassed 74 in those three seasons.
ss 234 points
He won 7 Best Nines at short. He hit .280 or better in 4 of those seasons, but in the other 3,
he never hit over .249. He didn't walk much and had little power, never exceeding 8 HR or 20
doubles in a season. He definitely had speed, leading the league in steals 4 times and
stealing at least 30 bases in each of his first ten seasons. He also must have had a good
glove. The main reason he rates this low is his numbers after his first five seasons are just
awful: .237 average, .275 OBP, and .299 slugging. You can't get much credit for offensive
numbers like that.
of 521 points
He won a MVP and 7 Best Nines, 3 in the outfield and 4 as a DH. He led the league in HR 3
times, RBI twice, walks 3 times and slugging twice. He was in the top six in the batting race
eight times. He hit .300 or better 9 times, 25 or more homers 12 times, and slugged over .500
of-ss 432 points
He won 3 Best Nines in the outfield and the a Gold Glove the first season they were awarded,
when he was already 36 years old. After that year, Hirose never again played full-time. He
won a batting title in his career and was in the top five in average 5 times. He also had
some pop in his bat, leading the league in doubles 3 times and triples three times as well
as hitting 10-14 HR in 7 seasons. He led the league in steals in five consecutive years and
stole 25 or more 14 times.
of 264 points
He hit .290 or better 3 times and hit 10 or more homers 4 times. He had good speed, stealing
20 or more in 4 seasons.
of 262 points
He won a Gold Glove, was in the top four in average 3 times, and had 15 or more homers in five
of-1b 236 points
He won 4 Best Nines, 3 in the outfield and one at first. He won a batting title and was in
the top five in average 4 times. He only had three seasons of double digit HR with a career
high of 16.
p 422 points
He won a MVP and a Best Nine. In his first 3 seasons, his win totals were 27, 38 and 31
respectively. He won exactly 20 in two other seasons. He led in ERA once and was in the top
4 in that category each of his first 4 years. He led in strikeouts twice and in winning
percentage once. After his third season, his career marks were 96-27 and a 1.81 ERA.
p 391 points
This sidearmer was in the top 4 in ERA four times, winning one ERA title and finishing with a career ERA
of 2.42. He led in wins once and winning percentage twice. He won 16-19 games in six
p 306 points
He won 20 or more 8 times and was in the top six in ERA in ten straight years.
p 275 points
He won exactly 19 four times (which is his career high) and led in strikeouts, win percentage
and ERA once apiece. He was in the top 3 in ERA 4 times. He doesn't rate higher because he
pitched only 1511.2 innings. He won a MVP and a Best Nine.
p 233 points
He was a reliever for the Hawks in the 1970's, which unfortunately means saves were not
recorded for four seasons. He led the league in that category 2 of the first 3 seasons it
was kept and was in the top 4 in ERA five times. He also led in winning percentage once.
After 7 seasons of service as an effective reliever, in 1977 they tried to make a starter out
of him. Not only was he not very effective in that role, he was never very good after that
p 206 points
His highs in wins were fifteen and seventeen, and he had first and second place finishes in
p 186 points
He won 20 games once and 15 for his second best total. He also had a third place finish in the
ERA race and led in winning percentage once.
p 176 points
This 6'2", 200 pounder who liked to use a brushback pitch led in winning percentage once and was
in the top six in ERA twice. His career won-loss mark is 100-72.
p 175 points
He led the league in wins in each of his first two seasons, and added ERA and strikeout
titles. However, those two years account for 574 of his career 709.1 IP. In those first two
years, he was 50-20 with a 1.94 ERA and 480 strikeouts. He turned 20 in his sophomore year.
After that year, he was 6-6 with a 3.79 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 135.1 innings. I admire
Tsuruoka's record, but it looks like he ruined the arm of a fine pitcher with overwork.
mgr 70.49 points
He started as a player/manager, but eventually gave up his playing career while he was still
an effective player (but aging) to focus on managing. He led his teams to 1807 wins and a
.609 winning percentage.
Greatest Lions Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Kazuhisa Inao
|| Yasumitsu Toyoda
|| Futoshi Nakanishi
|| Hiromichi Ishige
|| Kazuhiro Kiyohara
|| Koji Akiyama
c 321 points
He retired as a player after the 2003 season to become the 2004 manager of the Lions. I have
no doubt his defense was excellent, but I also have no doubt he wasn't much of an offensive
force. His best season's average is .287, his best finish in the batting race was 12th, he
never hit more than 13 homers in a season (though he did have 7 seasons with 10 or more) and
his walk totals were OK but not special. He did have speed at the beginning of his career,
stealing 51 bases in 1983-1985, which were his first three seasons of playing full time.
c 231 points
He never won any awards, though he was on a good number of All-Star teams. The main reason
for that was simple: he was playing in the same league at the same time and position as the
second best NPB player ever (and best ever catcher), Katsuya Nomura. Thus, even when Wada
hit .325 with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title, Nomura still got the Best Nine,
not Wada. Wada wasn't the ironman Nomura was, only qualifying for the batting title twice.
Wada's average overall was just decent, at .257. He hit 10 or more homers 4 times and had
six seasons of 12 or more steals.
1b 444 points
He's still active, but has been with the Giants since 1997. Just surpassed 2000 hits and is
a serious threat to get 500 HR as well. His averages have been OK, with only two seasons over
.300. However, he takes walks, with two seasons of 100 or more and a string of nine seasons
of 80 or more. He's had 7 seasons of 30 or more homers and another 8 seasons with 23-29. His
career OBP is an excellent .394 behind five seasons in which he qualified for the batting
title with an OBP of .400 or more. He's also had 10 seasons in which he qualified for the
batting title with a slugging percentage of .500 or better.
1b 274 points
He's only completed three seasons to date, and the broken arm he suffered has delayed the
start of his 2004 season. Those first three seasons have been excellent, hitting over .320
twice, once finishing second in the batting race. He also takes walks, so his career OBP at
the end of 2003 was a superlative .423. His slugging percentage in those three years has been
a minimum of .613 because he's hit at least 49 homers each year. He was born December 1971,
but he's got a shot at Japan's Hall of Fame if he can put in a few more such years. A key
plus for him is the fact he's tied for the single season home run record at 55. The big
question is whether or not he can produce enough for a JHOF caliber career in the rest of his
career given his age.
2b 345 points
Motoi spent his last six seasons with the Whales. He was in the top ten in average 4 times and
twice led the league in walks. He hit 18-21 homers 4 tmes and 10-15 another 7 times. He also
stole 20 or more bases 4 times and 10-19 another 7 times. I'd say a middle infielder with
such a resume who was at least decent defensively is deserving of a Hall of Fame plaque.
2b 275 points
He got a comparatively late start in NPB, at age 26. The war had nothing to do with it. Had
he gotten an earlier start, he might have amassed the rest of the pieces needed for a JHOf
caliber career. As it is, he won five Best Nines at second and 8 Gold Gloves at the position.
He led the leagues in average once and hit .290 or better in five seasons in which he got
enough at bats to qualify for a batting title. He had little power, with a career high of 8
homers in a season. He had 20 or more steals in five seasons. I'm not willing to give him a
break in my assessment of his worthiness for the JHOF, because I do not generally like the
"what-if" game. I make exceptions for wartime or the major leagues' color barrier because they
have almost everything to do with the times and almost nothing to do with the player. Other
circumstances, like injuries or Tsuji's late start, have a great deal to do with the player
himself. Such matters get far too speculative for my taste--after all, it's hard enough to
get a proper feel for what did happen plus accounting for the limited exceptions I
allow. Going further down that path makes the job impossible in my view.
3b 480 points
He won a MVP and 7 Best Nines, and led the league in average twice and finished second three
more times. He led the league in slugging five times, in walks once, in RBI three times, and
homers five times. He hit 20 or more homers 7 times, 3 of them over 30, He stole at least
15 bases in each of his first six seasons. He only qualified for the batting title in his
first seven seasons, before the injury. He only had two seasons in the first seven under
.314, .296 in 1954 and .281 in his rookie year. He had a sort of a comeback year in 1961
with a .304 average and 21 homers in 253 at bats while playing mostly at first. He was given
a Best Nine that year at third despite only playing nine games there that season. However,
that was far and away his most productive season after the wrist injury.
3b-ss 445 points
He hit .297 or better six times, finishing in the top 8 in average each time. He led the
league in walks once and had five seasons of 20 or more homers and four more with 15-16 HR.
He also had six seasons of 20 or more steals and slugged over .500 four times. Add in his
defensive excellence, and you've got a very impressive package of talents.
3b-1b 295 points
He's still active, but is now with the Swallows, where he captured the second Best Nine of
his career to go with the one he won as a Lion. The fact he is better than any sixth Lion
outfielder made it advisable to keep him in my opinion. He has third and fourth place
finishes in average to his credit, averaging over .300 and slugging over .520 in both of those
two seasons. From 1997 to 1999, he posted walk totals of 77-90, which is excellent. He hit
20 or more HR twice and added one season of 19 and another of 18. Given his age, I doubt he'll
do enough from here on to be a credible JHOF candidate.
ss 484 points
He won 6 Best Nines at shortstop. He won a batting title among his six finishes in the top 10
in average. He slugged .500 twice and hit 20 or more homers six times. He led the league in
walks 3 times and stole at least 24 bases in each of his first five seasons. He played his
last five years for the Swallows, but only played enough to qualify for the batting title once
while in their uniform. In his last four seasons, he never hit over .246 and was used mostly
in a part-time role.
ss 449 points
He's now in the majors with the Mets. In NPB, he's won a MVP, 7 Best Nines and 4 Gold Gloves,
all at short. Since he was born in 1976, he's young and probably has a lot left. Starting
with the 1997 season, he never hit below .305 or had an on-base percentage below .362 in NPB.
From 2000 on in NPB, he hit a minimum of 23 homers and slugged a minimum of .496. He stole 21
bases in his rookie season of 1995 in only 69 games. Except for 2003, he stole at least 26
bases in every other of his NPB years.
of 399 points
He retired after the 2002 season, but only after spending his last nine seasons as a Hawk
because he was traded for Makoto Sasaki. He finished in the top ten in average five times,
hitting at least .292 in those five seasons. From 1985 to 1993, he never hit less than 30
four baggers, three times smashing 40 or more. In his first two seasons as a Hawk, he added
24 and 21, in that order. He also stole at least 20 bases in six consecutive years for the
Lions and pilfered 26 in his first year as a Hawk. His career high in steals was 51. Ralph
Bryant says he had a great arm, and Orestes Destrade likened his defense to that of Andruw
Jones. Destrade also describes Akiyama as very quiet and reserved.
of 304 points
He won 3 Best Nines and was in the top seven in average 4 times. He had decent but not great
power, because while his career high was 27, his second best was 17. He had seven years of
11 to 17 homers. In his first two full-time seasons of 1955 and 1956, he had a total of 68
steals. He never stole more than 18 again, but was in the 15-18 range 4 times.
of 303 points
He won three Best Nines and twice hit .298 or better and twice slugged over .500. He was in
double figures in homers in 9 straight years, but with only 2 of them over 20 at 21 and 27.
of 252 points
He became a Lion after age 29, by which time both his power and his speed had diminished.
When he was a Flyer, he had 5 years with at least 12 steals, two of them over 20. His high
as a Lion was 11. He was still a good player, and he helped those Lions to their titles.
However, the real stars of those teams were Toyoda, Nakanishi and Inao.
of 228 points
He had very little power as evidenced by his career high of 7 homers. He hit .297 in 1956,
but never over .284 otherwise on his way to a .263 career average. He had some speed, with
nine seasons of ten or more steals, two times reaching 20 or more.
p 659 points
The best Lion ever by a significant margin. He won 2 MVPs and 5 Best Nines. He led the league
many times in many categories: five times in ERA, 3 times in strikeouts, twice in winning
percentage and four times in wins. He won 20 or more in each of his first 8 seasons, four of
30 or more. His personal high of 42 wins is tied for the record of the most pitching wins
in a NPB season. He was in the top five in ERA in a total of nine seasons.
p 303 points
He won 2 MVPs, 2 Best Nines and 5 Gold Gloves. He led the league in wins twice, strikeouts
once and ERA once. He was in the top four in ERA 5 times.
p 266 points
He won a Best Nine. He played for this franchise in the last 8 years of his career. He led
the league in wins twice in his career and had 3 seasons of 24 or more wins. He also led the
league in ERA once in one of his three top five finishes in that category.
p 249 points
He won 1 Best Nine in the nine seasons and 1226.1 career innings. His key period was 1954 to
1956, which accounts for 789.2 innings with a record of 62-18 (against a career mark of 82-47)
with an ERA of 1.97 (against a career mark of 2.44). He did pitch a no hitter in 1958,
p 248 points
He pitched only six seasons, but in five of them he was in the top seven in ERA. He led in
wins once, attaining 20 or more wins in 3 years. His career won loss mark is 103-65, which
gives him a fine .613 winning percentage.
p 231 points
He played his last four years for the Carp, but not very effectively. He won 20 or more twice
and added seasons of 17 and 18 wins. He was in the top 7 in ERA three times.
p 223 points
He had 25 wins once and only qualified for the ERA title twice, finishing in the top six each
time. Those two seasons account fot 618 of his 1390.1 career innings. He never pitched over
146 innings in any of his other seasons.
p 207 points
He's still active but since he was born in 1971, you've got to wonder how many years he has
left in NPB. He's saved 28, 38 and 38 in that order in the last 3 years, and his ERA in that
time is 1.55. He had a fourth place finish in ERA in 1997.
p 196 points
He twice finished in the top four in ERA and had 18 or more wins 3 times. He also pitched a
mgr 40.87 points
He is the all-time manager of the franchise behind his 8 pennants and 6 Japan Series victories.
He was interviewed in Robert Fitt's fine book Remembering Japanese Baseball, and he
described himself as a defense oriented manager who also "valued each player's feelings".
mgr-honorable mention 27.60 points
He shouldn't be ignored because he "only" won 4 pennants and 3 Japan Series.
Greatest Marines Players
(minimum 350 points)
|| Kihachi Enomoto
|| Kazuhiro Yamauchi
|| Michiyo Arito
|| Hiromitsu Ochiai
|| Atsushi Aramaki
|| LeRon Lee
c 167 points
He played 18 years for the franchise, but never won an award and never hit over .273 in a
season. He only had more than 10 homers once, and hit .234 for his career. He probably was
good defensively to last so long with so little to offer with the bat. That and longevity
are his two real strengths.
c 159 points
Doigaki played only 4 seasons for the franchise and still almost catches Daigo behind seasons
of .322 with 15 homers and .296 with 13 homers.
1b 557 points
He's the player with the best career as a Orion/Marine because unlike so much of the
competition, he stayed there except for an ineffective last season. He was in the top five in
average 7 times, winning that title twice. He had a good eye, leading the league in walks
four times. His career average is .298 and his career OBP is an excellent .383. He had
decent power, hitting 20 or more HR 3 times and 15-18 an additional 7 times.
2b-ss 323 points
He played his last six years for the Lions, all but the last of them effectively. He won 5
Best Nines and 3 Gold Gloves at second. One of the Best Nines and 2 of the Gold Gloves came
when he was a Lion. He had his best years in power and drawing walks as a Lion as well. His
best 3 seasons in walks were all as a Lion and he had 15 or more homers 9 times, 3 as a Lion.
He spent 14 seasons of his career with this franchise.
2b-ss-of 313 points
Between 1992 and 1998, he had five seasons with 10 or more steals. He had 2 seasons of 20 or
more thefts. He was born in April 1969 and has been playing for 15 years but is still
effective. I doubt he's got enough left to make a good JHOF case for himself, especially with
all the recent middle infield stars he'd be competing against.
3b-1b-2b 404 points
You'd have to find a spot for him in the lineup of this franchise's all-star team, but if
there's no DH, he's got to fight defensively superior players at least at second and third
and a longtime franchise stalwart at first. However, he can't be ignored because of his
potent bat. He won five batting titles in the ten times total he was in the top 5 in average.
He led the league in slugging four times, and nine times in walks. He led in RBI and homers
five times each. He smacked 25 or more homers in 11 seasons, nine seasons with an average
over .300, and thirteen years where he qualified for the batting title and slugged over .500.
He played 13 seasons, many of them quite effectively after being traded by this franchise. Leron
Lee that "except for his defense, probably the best player I saw" was this man whom he describes
as "strong as a bull and aggressive". Lee also notes Ochiai was unique among Japanese for telling
people what he thought.
3b 472 points
He won 10 Best Nines and the first four Gold Gloves awarded at third in the Pacific League.
Though he had 11 seasons of play after age 29, he got no more Gold Gloves after that age. He
won a batting title and hit .300 or better 5 times. He hit 20 or more homers ten times and
slugged .498 and up nine times.
3b 327 points
He's still active but given his age, it seems unlikely he has enough left to make a good JHOF
case for himself. He finished in the top ten in average 3 times and slugged .500 or better
3 times in which he qualified for the batting title. He hit 22-25 homers 4 times and 16-18 an
additional five times. He won a Best Nine.
3b-ss 279 points
He played 9 years for this franchise, six for the Dragons, and one for the Tigers. He became
an outfielder when he went to the Dragons in 1964, and was just an OK player thereafter. He
hit 20 or more homers 3 times and 11-16 dingers five more times. He stole 10-17 bases in five
seasons. All the best years in average and steals were as an Orion, as were 2 of the 20 homer
years and all but one of the 11-16 seasons. He won two Best Nines, one each at short and
ss 219 points
Is still active and with the franchise at age 30. He's won 3 Gold Gloves to date. His average
is OK but nothing special (.255 career) for a middle infielder. He's had decent to good
walk totals and good speed. He's stolen at least 27 bases in each of his seven seasons to
date. He has no home run power, since his career high in that category is an anemic 3.
of 534 points
Both Yamauchi and Ochiai, had better careers than Enomoto, but
are behind him as the all-time player of this franchise because each of them spent at least
seven years with other teams. Yamauchi played 12 years for the Orions and then was traded to
the Tigers in a blockbuster deal for Koyama. He then spent four years with the Tigers and his
last 3 with the Carp. Yamauchi won a MVP while an Orion and added 8 of his career 9 Best
Nines as an Orion. He led the league in homers twice, RBI twice, walks once, slugging
percentage three times and average once. He was in the top five in average nine times (all
but one for the Orions), hit 20 or more homers 12 times (9 of them for the Orions) and had
five seasons of 10 or more steals (four for the Orions).
of 363 points
He played 11 seasons in Japan and slugged .500 or better in 9 of them on his way to a .542
career mark in that category. He even married a Japanese woman during his stay there. He
is quoted in You Gotta Have Wa as saying he hit .300 in the majors whenever he played
regularly, but was only able to do so when filling in for an injured starter. When the
starter healed and went back into the lineup, Lee went to the bench and his average would
fall. I can believe it, because if you convert his Japanese stats to major league equivalents,
he should hit about .300 and consistently hit about 20 homers in a full season. I wouldn't
guess his defense was stellar, so if he didn't keep the average up, his manager would let him
get trapped behind other players.
of 325 points
He won 3 Best Nines. He came to Japan at age 33 and in his first season led in RBI and finished
second in average. He finished in the top 3 in average a total of 4 times. He hit 20 or more
homers in each of his first seven seasons, failing to do so only in his 8th and last year in
NPB. He led the league in slugging once and had five seasons in which he qualified for the
batting title and slugged over .560. He also had 2 seasons of 100 or more RBI. According to
an article by Katsuya Nomura quoted in the chapter on 1986 in Slugging It Out in Japan
(Warren Cromartie's autobiography), Altman went to a heavier bat to deal with the slower
of 255 points
He hit .295 or better in at least 225 AB four times. He had little power, with only 2 seasons
of over 10 homers and a career high of 13. He did have speed, with 20 or more steals in 9 of
his first 11 seasons. He won 2 Best Nines and five Gold Gloves.
of-1b 241 points
His rookie year was 1946 and he was 27 years old, so it is reasonable to believe that he lost
some key years to the war. He won 3 outfield Best Nines as well as a batting title. He hit
.293 or better in five seasons. His highs in homers were 25 and 27, with four other years of
10-18 dingers. He once led the league in walks. He slugged .495 or better in 5 seasons.
His first three years and his last four came with other franchises.
of 241 points
His career was short, only 10 seasons and 3191 at bats, with WW II likely part of the reason.
He averaged .302 and slugged .525 for his career. He only qualified for 4 batting titles,
slugging at least .498 in each of those seasons and averaging .309 in 3 of them. The .309
average seasons were good for second, fourth, and sixth place finishes in the batting race.
He won RBI, slugging and home run titles, all in 1950 while leading the Orions to the first
Japan Series title ever. He had 39 and 43 homers in 1949 and 1950 respectively, but never more
than 18 in any other year. He had good speed, with 3 seasons of 34 or more steals and another
p 369 points
He qualified for 7 ERA titles and finished in the top eight each time he did so. He won 20 or
more 3 times and 15-18 in five other seasons. He also captured a Best Nine.
p 327 points
He won a Best Nine and 3 ERA titles, two of them consecutively. He led the league in strikeouts
four times and wins once. He finished in the top six in ERA 8 times. In 1982, he hurt his
arm, and over the next year and half, he tried throwing to cure the problem, without success.
He went through all manner of treatments in Japan to cure the problem, accupuncture, electrical
shock, massage, and even wrapping his arm in snakeskin. None of these efforts helped, and
the doctors in Japan couldn't find anything wrong. The truth was, sports medicine was far less
developed in Japan than it was in the states at that time. A fan wrote him about Dr. Jobe and
Tommy John, and out of desperation, Murata went to see Dr. Jobe. Dr. Jobe found a ruptured
ligament and did the Tommy John surgery on him. Murata came back, but found it especially
difficult to break the habit of throwing hard every day, as is the Japanese practice. Dr.
Jobe ordered him to cease this habit developed through a lifetime in Japanese baseball. For
a more in-depth telling of this tale, see Chapter 3 of You Gotta Have Wa. In his return,
Murata captured one of his ERA titles and a 17 win seasons, although with a lighter workload
than before. Murata was the first Japanese pitcher to undergo successful surgery on his
pitching arm and thus opened a door for other pitchers. He won 215 games in his career, which
exceeds the traditional mark of excellence of 200 pitching wins. He may well have a JHOF
case, especially with the notoriety that comes with being a successful groundbreaker.
p 300 points
Won a Best Nine, one ERA title, and led the league once each in wins and winning percentage.
All his league leaderships came in his spectacular 1960 season. He went 33-11 with a 1.98 ERA
that year in 304 innings. He had 2 other 20 win seasons and was in the top 5 in ERA two other
times. His run from 1957 to 1960 is impressive: 94-39 with a 1.97 ERA in 1071.1 innings.
He has over half his career wins and over a third of his career innings in those four years.
p 287 points
He won a Best Nine and a Gold Glove. He twice led the league in wins and won 20 or more 4
times. He led the league in strikeouts once and twice finished in the top 3 in ERA.
p 254 points
This man was a submariner with good control who pitched for the Stars, a team that never
contended and was sometimes awful. He once finished second in ERA, and pitched the first no
hitter in the Pacific League, but his career could best be described as solid but unspectacular.
p 253 points
As an Orion, he led the league in wins once and had had 3 seasons of 20 or more wins total.
He was in the top six in ERA three times for the Orions as well.
p 252 points
He also pitched for the Stars. If we count 1937 and 1938 as single years, he finished in the
top five in ERA 8 times, two of them for the Stars. He led the league in wins in 1949 with
27 for the Stars. That said, his career as a Star, while good, was nowhere near what he had
been as a Giant. Of course, having more talent on your team is a part of the reason for
that, and another is he was older as a Star.
p 242 points
He won a MVP and a Best Nine. He twice won 20 games, once leading the league in wins. He
also once led the league in ERA and finished fourth in ERA another year.
p 194 points
He was born in May 1974. He is still with the franchise. He's saved 33 or more in each of the
last three years, 103 in all. He only allowed 4 runs in 43.1 innings in 2002 for a
miniscule 0.83 ERA.
mgr 11.94 points
He had six winning seasons in the seven he spent with the club as a player/manager. His
overall record as a manager for this franchise is 542-386-26, for a very good winning
percentage of .584. He never was able to get a pennant, though, because the Hawk and Lion
powerhouses of the 1950's blocked the way.
The reason such a low score in manager's success points is enough to lead the franchise is,
in my view, largely the fault of upper management. This franchise has only allowed four
managers over three years with the club, and some of them had success elsewhere. To date,
no one has managed them more than eight years. That makes it tough for any manager to
amass a large number of success points.
More importantly, though, is the fact this franchise just seems to be constantly making
changes, whether it be managers, a merger with another team or trades of star players. This
franchise all-star team has at least half a dozen players who played effectively for other
teams. Such incessant tinkering doesn't allow for continuity, which is often a key
ingredient of success. I know stability can be overdone, but it is valuable in team sports.
This franchise has chosen to ignore that point. I can't say that many of the moves when
looked at individually look all that bad, but all of them together give me the impression of
a man desperately trying to walk across the deck of a boat in heavy seas--lurching this way
and that, with hardly any discernable direction.
My sources for the ratings and the articles based upon those ratings are:
Bill James' Win Shares Book
The New Bill James Historical Abstract
The Bill James Handbook 2004
The Official Baseball Encyclopedia (for Japan)
Japanese Baseball: A Statistical Handbook by Dan Johnson
All-Time Japanese Baseball Register ed. by Carlos Bauer
You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting
The Meaning of Ichiro by Robert Whiting
Chrysanthemum and the Bat by Robert Whiting
Remembering Japanese Baseball by Robert Fitts
Slugging It Out in Japan by Warren Cromartie
Jim Allen's Baseball Guides
Baseball's Other Stars by Bill McNeil
Japanese Baseball Superstars by Rob Fitts and Gary Engels
and special thanks to Michael Westbay of japanesebaseball.com for filling in much of my
missing data, especially for 1999-2003.