Kentaro Ogawa

From BR Bullpen

Kentaro Ogawa (小川 健太郎)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 154 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Kentaro Ogawa was a star pitcher in Japan for several years.

Ogawa was signed by the Toei Flyers in 1953 but was released two years later without pitching for the big club. [1] He was slated to pitch one game but had a fight with another player the day before. [2] He then toiled in the industrial leagues for several years before joining the Chunichi Dragons. [3] He finally made it to the Central League in 1964, going 0-1 with a 4.44 ERA in nine games as a 30-year-old rookie.

In 1965, he established himself as a key contributor - 17-9, 2.42 in 55 games (23 starts). He finished among the CL leaders in ERA (10th), wins (8th, but 1st on his team, two ahead of Hisanobu Mizutani), games pitched (tied for 6th with Eiji Bando and Makoto Inagawa), complete games (8, tied for 9th with Mizutani), shutouts (3, tied for 7th), IP (215 1/3, 10th, between Minoru Nakamura and Sohachi Aniya) and strikeouts (126, tied Mizutani for 8th).

The submariner made his first CL All-Star team for the 1966 NPB All-Star Games. In Game 1, he worked the final two innings of a 6-2 loss to the Pacific League (2 H, 1 BB, 1 R) after relieving Kenichi Ryu. [4] For the 1966 season, he proved the prior year was no fluke by going 17-11 with a 2.19 ERA. He was 5th in the league in ERA (between Kunio Jonouchi and Masatoshi Gondo), 3rd in wins (after Minoru Murayama and Jonouchi), 6th in games pitched (45, between Susumu Oba and Tomoo Wako), tied for 4th in starts (32), 6th in complete games (12), tied Shiroku Ishido for 6th in shutouts (6), 6th in IP (234, between Oba and Susumu Sato) and 3rd in strikeouts (141, after Murayama and Oba).

Kentaro started 1967 NPB All-Star Game 2 but struggled (4 R, 6 H in 3 IP) before Yataro Oishi relieved. [5] In 1967, he was 29-12 with a 2.51 ERA. He made the CL leaderboards in ERA (6th, between Gene Bacque and Hidetake Watanabe), wins (1st, 11 ahead of Bacque and Chikara Morinaka), appearances (55, 3rd, after Ichiro Hiraoka and Shigeyuki Takahashi), starts (27, tied for 7th with Morinaka), games finished as a reliever (18, 7th), games finished as a starter AKA complete games (16, tied Jonouchi for 2nd, 3 behind Bacque), shutouts (3, tied for 2nd, 2 behind Jonouchi), innings (279 2/3, 1st by 21 1/3 ahead of Bacque) and strikeouts (178, 3rd, behind Yutaka Enatsu and Morinaka). The workhorse made the Best Nine as the top pitcher in the CL and won the Sawamura Award as the top pitcher in Nippon Pro Baseball. Through 2019, no Sawamura Award winner has matched his win total (Bacque had won 29 three years prior when winning the award and Hiroshi Gondo had won 35 six years before); the closest anyone has come was Tsuneo Horiuchi's 26 in 1972.

The Fukuoka native did very well in 1968 NPB All-Star Game 1, relieving Enatsu in the 7th with a 1-0 deficit and throwing three shutout innings (3 H, 1 BB, 1 K) while the CL tied it. Yoshiro Sotokoba relieved him in the 10th. [6] His record was way down on the season, though, as he had a 10-20, 3.27 mark in 1968. He led the CL in losses (5 more than Takahashi), tied Jonouchi for 9th in complete games (9), was 8th in innings (217 1/3, between Kozo Ishioka and Horiuchi) and tied Takahashi for 7th in strikeouts (143).

At age 35, he was the starter for the CL in 1969 NPB All-Star Game 1. He allowed one unearned run in two innings (2 H, 2 BB, 2 K); Sotokoba relieved with a 1-0 deficit after Kazuyoshi Yamamoto batted for Ogawa. [7] He had a bounce-back season in 1969 (20-12, 2.68) and even homered twice. He was 10th in the CL in ERA, second in wins (2 behind Kazumi Takahashi), tied Enatsu and Hiraoka for 8th in games pitched (44), was 5th in starts (31), was 4th in IP (252, between Kazumi Takahashi and Masaji Hiramatsu), was 10th in strikeouts (115, between Ishioka and Shizuo Shiraishi) and allowed the most hits (228, two more than Sotokoba) and dingers (28, two more than Ishido).

He was 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 1970 before he got caught up in the Black Mist Scandal for his involvement in auto-race fixing, ending his career. [8]

He was 95-66 with a 2.62 ERA in 253 NPB games, completing 52 of 142 starts. Through 2011, he was among the NPB career leaders in winning percentage (44th, between Horiuchi and Kotaro Mori), WHIP (60th, between Mori and Tatsuyoshi Yasuhara), walk rate (65th, between Gondo and Yasuo Yonekawa) and ERA (61st, between Yoshio Tazawa and Ryohei Hasegawa). [9]