Kaname Yashiki

From BR Bullpen

Kaname Yashiki

  • Bats Both, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 165 lb.

Kaname Yashiki was a five-time Gold Glove winner and three-time stolen base king in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Yashiki was a 6th-round draft pick of the Taiyo Whales in 1977. He was 0 for 3 with a run in nine games in 1978. He got only 41 plate appearances in 82 games in 1979, fanning in 15 of 36 at-bats. He batted .250/.300/.306, stole 5 bases in 7 tries and scored 12 runs (he presumably pinch-ran frequently). As a bench player in 1980, his batting line was .245/.314/.273 and he was 14-for-21 in steal attempts. His playing time continued to rise and he hit .255/.305/.308 with 16 swipes in 24 attempts in 1981. In 1982, he was successful in 17 of 20 stealing tries and hit .257/.300/.381.

Yashiki became a starter in 1983 and put up a .287/.333/.375 line with 16 steals while being gunned down running 11 times. He improved to .305/.367/.421 in 1984 though he only swiped 11 bags. He won his first Diamond Glove Award as one of the Central League's three best defensive outfielders. The Hyogo native hit .304/.366/.462 in 1985 with uncharacteristic power (16 HR, 78 RBI). He also stole a career-high 58 bases while being caught only 13 times. He just missed the CL's top 10 in average, won a second Diamond Glove and tied for the most triples (5, even with Ken Hirano, Hirokazu Kato and Seiji Kamikawa). That year, he and teammates Hirokazu Kato and Yutaka Takagi were nicknamed the "Go-kart Trio" for their speedy presence at the top of Taiyo's batting order.

The Taiyo speedster regressed to .237/.282/.337 in 1986 but still pilfered 48 bases in 64 tries. He tied Hirano for the most steals and won a Gold Glove (the new name for the Diamond Glove). The switch-hitter batted .291/.321/.395 with 48 steals while being caught 8 times and scoring 77 runs in 1987, the year he made his only All-Star team. He tied Yutaka Takagi and Kiyoyuki Nagashima for the league lead with five triples, he led in steals and he won his fourth Gold Glove.

Kaname faded once more, to .236/.294/.285 with 33 steals in 42 tries in 1988. He led the CL in steals for the third and final time and also won his last Gold Glove. He was a backup by 1989, hitting .206/.272/.290 in 68 games. He only played 12 games in 1990 (13 for 42, 3B, 5 BB, 3 SB) then hit .274/.354/.347 with 23 steals as a part-timer in 1991. He was a starter again for one year, 1992, hitting .277/.340/.353 with 8 steals in 16 tries, a far cry from his old speed. He batted .245/.286/.342 in 61 games in 1993, ending his 16-year run with the Taiyo franchise (now the Yokohama BayStars).

Moving to the Yomiuri Giants, Yoshiki was 4 for 29 with 4 walks, a double and four steals in 87 games in 1994 and 6 for 21 with a double, homer, two walks and six steals in 67 games in 1995.

Yashiki batted .269/.323/.363 in 1,628 NPB games, with 327 steals in 433 tries. Through 2010, he was 20th in NPB history in stolen bases.

Kaname later worked as a Yomiuri coach in 1998 and 1999 and as an announcer. As a hobby, he collects stamps and scale models.

Source: Japanbaseballdaily