Hirofumi Ogawa (02)

From BR Bullpen

HirofumiOgawa.jpg

Hirofumi Ogawa (小川 博文)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 171 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Hirofumi Ogawa played in the Olympics and then was a three-time All-Star in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Ogawa played for Prince Hotels in the industrial leagues after high school. [1] He was the star hitter for the Japanese national team in the 1987 Intercontinental Cup, hitting .447 and slugging .789 for the Bronze Medalists. He was 6th in average, between Ming-Tsu Lu and Antonio Pacheco. [2] He started at second for Japan in the 1988 Baseball World Cup, forming a double play combo with Kenjiro Nomura or Masafumi Nishi, who alternated at short. He handled 45 chances error-free and hit .244/.326/.317 with seven runs in thirteen games, stealing four bases in five tries. He tied for 5th in the event in swipes (behind Tom Goodwin, Julio Medina, Kenji Tomashino and Chan-yup Rok). In the Bronze Medal Game, he was 2 for 3 with a double and both RBI off Yi-Hsin Chen as Japan fell to Taiwan. [3] He remained with Japan for the 1988 Olympics, hitting .368, third on Japan. He doubled off Jim Abbott in the finale, which Japan lost (baseball was not a medal sport yet). [4]

The Orix Braves took him in the second round of the 1988 NPB draft, after selecting Tsutomu Sakai in round one. [5] His first NPB hit came off Hideyuki Awano and his first home run was against a similarly named player, Hiroshi Ogawa. [6] He hit .247/.289/.346 for 1989, starting at short. He was among the Pacific League leaders in triples (4, tied for 7th) and sacrifice hits (24, 5th). In 1990, he improved to .260/.320/.338 and stole 22 bases in 29 tries, his only time in double-digit swipes. He was 6th in the loop in stole bases, between Ken Hirano and Daijiro Oishi.

Ogawa made his first PL All-Star team for the 1991 NPB All-Star Games. In Game 2, he took over at short when Hiromi Matsunaga moved to third base. He was 0 for 1 (facing Shinji Imanaka) and made an error before Yukio Tanaka succeeded him. [7] He finished the 1991 at .273/.326/.360 for the team, now renamed the Orix BlueWave. He tied Koji Akiyama and Hatsuhiko Tsuji for 4th in the league in hits (135), tied Hiromichi Ishige and Matt Winters for 6th in doubles (24) and was 4th with 28 sacrifice hits (between Hisashi Ono and Tsutomu Ito). He missed the top ten in average by .002. [8] He made the Best Nine as the PL's top shortstop, the only time he was so honored during his career.

In 1992 NPB All-Star Game 1, he replaced Norio Tanabe at short late in a 6-1 win over the Central League. In Game 2, he started at short then moved to second when Tsuji left. He was 1 for 3 with two RBI in a 6-4 loss. In Game 3, he replaced Tsuji at second late in a 4-2 defeat. [9] He produced at a .291/.331/.390 rate in 1992. Lacking many walks (20) or much power (3 HR), he had 39 runs and 38 RBI in 103 games. He fielded .987 at short. He tied for 3rd in the PL with 24 sacrifice hits and tied for 4th with five sacrifice flies. Had he qualified, he would have been 8th in the PL in average. [10]

Ogawa hit .256/.316/.367 in 1993. He became their starter at third, ceding the shortstop slot to Hironori Suguro. He made his third and final All-Star team the next year. Replacing Tsuji at second in a 8-1 win in 1994 NPB All-Star Game 1, he took Shingo Takatsu deep. He started Game 2 but went 0 for 3 then Tanabe moved over to second to take his spot. [11] He hit .303/.362/.388 for the BlueWave in 1994. He placed among the league leaders in average (5th, between Matsunaga and Junichi Fukura), hits (139, 7th, between Kevin Reimer and Kiyoshi Hatsushiba), triples (5, tied for second, one behind Mitsuchika Hirai) and sacrifice flies (8, 1st, one ahead of Koichi Oshima). The Japanese Wikipedia says he missed the Best Nine by one vote, but it is unclear if it was at 3B or SS, as he saw significant time at both; Tetsuro Hirose won at short and Matsunaga at third.

The Chiba native batted .272/.324/.388 in 1995, now splitting time between 2B (.996) and SS (.976). [12] He was 10th in the league in average. [13] The BlueWave made it to the 1995 Japan Series, where he started at short and hit .278/.316/.500 as they fell to the Yakult Swallows. In Game 4, Orix was down 1-0, when he took Kenjiro Kawasaki deep to force extra innings; it led to Orix's only win of the Series. His nine total bases tied Doug Jennings, one ahead of the great Ichiro Suzuki. [14] He hit .288/.342/.419 in 1996, fielding .974. He again outperformed Ichiro in the Japan Series; as Orix beat the Yomiuri Giants in the 1996 Japan Series, he batted .357/.400/.500. He led Orix in OPS, 26 points ahead of Oshima, though the Series MVP went to Troy Neel. [15]

During 1997, he hit .234/.280/.363; a bright spot was his first time in double-digit home runs, 11. He fielded .985 at short. [16] He hit .238/.297/.359 in 1998, fielding .983 at short. He became the 188th NPB player to 1,000 hits when he got one off Hiroshi Nagatomi on August 27. [17] In 1999, he rebounded to .274/.350/.380 and fielded .975 at SS. He reached the rare accomplishment of having homered from every lineup spot, the fifth NPB player to do so. [18] He hit .261/.325/.365 in 2000, now in a backup role (behind Oshima at 2B, Makoto Shiozaki at SS, George Arias at 3B and Yasuo Fujii at 1B. Orix traded him that off-season to the Yokohama BayStars, in a deal; he was sent with Yu Sugimoto and Kazuyuki Maeda for Tatsuya Shindo, Hisashi Tokano and Kiyoshi Arai. [19]

His first season with Yokohama, he hit .264/.346/.410 with a career-best 15 dingers in 2001, fielding .970 at the hot corner. His 9 sacrifice flies led the CL, two ahead of Hideki Matsui, Atsuya Furuta and Luis Lopez. He played his 1,500th career game, on September 18 as a sub for Jon Zuber - he was the 134th NPB player to that mark. [20] He hit .261/.321/.375 in 2002, splitting first with Takahiro Saeki and third with Mike Gulan. He hit five sac flies to tie Daisuke Motoki and Kosuke Fukudome for second in the league, one behind Arias. He bashed his 100th career homer on July 31, 2003, off Shinji Taninaka, the 229th NPB player to the century figure. [21]

Retiring as a player, he coached for Orix (2008, 2010-2012 and 2014-2014) and Yokohama (2016-2018) then became a TV sports commentator. [22]

He had hit .266/.324/.374 in 1,720 NPB games, with 225 doubles, 100 homers, 574 runs, 597 RBI and 64 steals in 108 tries. Through 2011, he was among the career NPB leaders in games played (between Yoshihiko Takahashi and Yutaka Wada), sacrifice hits (168, 47th, between Masahiro Araki and Tetsuya Matoyama), sacrifice flies (54, tied Eiji Fujii for 40th), strikeouts (973, 56th) and double play grounders (143, tied Mitsuru Fujiwara and Koichi Isobe for 63rd). [23]

Sources[edit]

  1. Defunct Japan Baseball Daily site
  2. 1988 Baseball Almanac, pg. 247
  3. Defunct IBAF site
  4. Japanese Wikipedia
  5. ibid.
  6. ibid.
  7. Michael Eng's Japanese Database, 1991 NPB All-Star Game 2
  8. Japan Baseball Daily
  9. Michael Eng Database, 1992 NPB All-Star Games
  10. Japan Baseball Daily
  11. Michael Eng Database, 1994 NPB All-Star Games
  12. Japanese Wikipedia
  13. Japan Baseball Daily
  14. Japan Baseball Daily; Japanese Wikipedia
  15. Japan Baseball Daily
  16. Japanese Wikipedia
  17. ibid.
  18. ibid.
  19. ibid.
  20. ibid.
  21. ibid.
  22. ibid.
  23. Michael Eng Database