Koji Nakata

From BR Bullpen

Koji Nakata (仲田幸司) born as Michael Philip Peterson (Mike)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 176 lb.

Koji Nakada pitched for 13 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Nakada was born as Michael Peterson in the USA but his parents divorced. When he was three, he moved back with his mother to Japan, where she remarried. In the 1983 summer Koshien, he had a 17-strikeout game. The Hanshin Tigers took him in the third round in that year's draft. He made it to the big club in 1985 and went 3-4 with a 4.38 ERA, walking 51 in 86 1/3 IP. He threw a shutout for his first win in NPB. Despite his limited workload, he still led the Central League with seven wild pitches. He did not appear in the 1985 Japan Series, when Hanshin won their only Japan Series title of the 20th Century.

Mike was 7-12 with a 3.10 ERA and .217 opponent average as a member of Hanshin's rotation in 1986. He tied Hikaru Takano for 8th in the CL in ERA. In 1987, the young lefty turned in a 8-11, 3.93 record with a .228 opponent average. He fanned 150 in 155 2/3 IP. He led the CL in both walks (74) and wild pitches (11).

Nakata went 6-9 with a save and a 3.88 ERA in 1988 while walking 71 in 130 innings (one walk behind league leader Kazuhisa Kawaguchi). He allowed a .228 average again. He was the Tigers' Opening Day starter that season, and repeated in that role in 1989, when he faded to 4-10, 4.66.

Koji was 4-13 with two saves and a 4.24 ERA in 1990 while striking out 153 in 152 2/3 innings and walking 76. He led the CL with eight wild pitches. He tied Kawaguchi and Kenjiro Kawasaki for the league lead in losses. In 1991, he was 1-7 with a 4.25 ERA. His only win was a 10-inning relief decision.

Nakata went 14-12 with a save, 2.53 ERA and 194 strikeouts in 1992. He led the CL in innings (217 1/3), strikeouts and complete games (13). He made his only CL All-Star team that year as well. He placed third in the league in ERA behind Koki Morita and Shin Nakagomi. In 1993, Mike faded to 3-12, 6.54 with a .293 average allowed and 59 walks in 85 1/3 innings, going from his best year to one of his worst. That year, he had gotten his third and last Opening Day starting call.

The veteran hurler had a 7-6, 4.15 campaign in 1994 then was only 0-2 with a 9.56 ERA, 14 walks in 16 innings and a .338 opponent average in a fast-fading 1995. A free agent, he signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines but had a 0-1, 6.23 record in 1996 and gave up 14 runs, 17 hits and 5 walks in 8 2/3 IP in 1997 to end his career.

Overall, Nakata was 57-99 with four saves and a 4.06 ERA in 335 NPB games. He fanned 1,158 in 1,335 innings but walked 642. He later worked as a commentator for Mainichi Broadcasting.

Source: Japanbaseballdaily.com