Category Archives: News

Another reliever for Japan’s hall?

Side-armer Shingo Takatsu has a chance to make the jump into Japan’s Hall of Fame.

This is the second part in a series about players on the ballot for the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame’s next induction class in January 2019.

A year ago, the No. 2 candidate who failed to make the grade this past year was reliever Shingo Takatsu, who was named on 45.9 percent of the ballots in just his third year of eligibility.

So far, only two relievers have made it to the Hall oF Fame, Kazuhiro Sasaki, who finished with 381 saves between NPB and the big leagues, and Tsunemi Tsuda — who had 90.

Tsuda is Japan’s Thurman Munson equivalent. He was an inspirational player with the Hiroshima Carp who died young. The right-hander was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at the age of 30, and died less than three years later in 1993. Unlike Munson, Tsuda’s election took a long time, and he wasn’t enshrined until 2012.

Tsuda’s was one of the better relief pitchers of his time, but he’s an outlier. Since voters have failed to elect any other relievers with records remotely similar to Tsuda, it appears his untimely death was a big factor.

That doesn’t help us out with Takatsu, however. The affable side-armer wasn’t as dominant as Sasaki, but he was a quality reliever for a long time — and the two were durable — something few relievers had been before them.

Takatsu is going to be an interesting test to see where the voters want to draw the lines on relievers, because he Sasaki and recently retired Hitoki Iwase are going to the be the front end of a wave as teams refine their bullpen tactics and extend closers longevity.

Ramirez, Miyamoto, Ishii added to Hall ballot

The ballot for next year’s Japan’s baseball Hall of Fame inductions were announced Wednesday. With pitcher Yoshinori Sato dropping off the players’ division ballot after his eligibility ran out, and six new players added, the voters, members of Japan’s baseball media for over 15 years, will have 18 players to select from.

The six new candidates are left-handed pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii, shortstop Shinya Miyamoto, and outfielders Tomonori Maeda, Shinjiro Hiyama, Takeshi Yamasaki and Alex Ramirez.

Ramirez joins Tuffy Rhodes, putting two foreigners on the players’ division ballot. He’s also one of four former Yakult Swallows on the ballot, along with Miyamoto, Ishii and reliever Shingo Takatsu, who was named on 45.9 percent of the ballots last year.

Infielder Kazuyoshi Tatsunami received the most votes a year ago (65.8 percent) among players who failed to reach the 75 percent needed for induction.

Three candidates were also added to the experts division ballot, longtime pitching coach Takao Obana, former Hanshin Tigers slugger Masayuki Kakefu and former Rakuten Eagles manager Masataka Nashida, who won Pacific League pennants with both the Kintetsu Buffaloes and Nippon Ham Fighters.

Former Sawamura Award winner Hiroshi Gondo, a longtime pitching coach who had a brief but very successful run as manager with the DeNA BayStars’ franchise, received 65.6 percent of last year’s vote, with former Hanshin Tigers slugger Randy Bass second behind him with 46.7 percent.

The only foreign-registered player currently in the Hall of Fame is outfielder and manager Wally Yonamine.

The new ballot looks like this with the percent of total votes they received in last year’s vote:

Players’ Division
Kazuyoshi Tatsunami 65.8
Shingo Takatsu 45.9
Yoshinori Sato 38.0
Masahiro Kawai 35.9
Kenjiro Nomura 28.5
Tuffy Rhodes 22.8
Hiroki Kokubo 21.7
Masumi Kuwata 21.2
Takuro Ishii 19.3
Kenji Jojima 14.1
Shinji Sasaoka 9.5
So Taguchi 7.9
Norihiro Akahoshi 5.4
Kazuhisa Ishii new
Tomonori Maeda new
Takeshi Yamasaki new
Shinjiro Hiyama new
Alex Ramirez new

Experts Division
Hiroshi Gondo 65.6
Randy Bass 46.7
Koichi Tabuchi 41.0
Isao Shibata 24.6
Keishi Osawa 23.8
Mitsuhiro Adachi 23.0
Hideji Kato 23.0
Masayuki Dobashi 22.1
Tokuji Nagaike 19.7
Hiromu Matsuoka 13.1
Akinobu Okada 9.8
Kiyoshi Nakahata 9.0
Hiromasa Arai 8.2
Takao Obana new
Masayuki Kakefu new
Masataka Nashida new