Satoru Sugiyama (杉山 悟)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 165 lb.
- High School Okazaki Chugakkou
Satoru Sugiyama was a three-time Central League All-Star and one-time home run champion.
Sugiyama played for Yutaka Sangyo in the industrial leagues after high school. He made his Japanese Professional Baseball League debut with the 1948 Chunichi Dragons, hitting .232/.284/.368. He led the JPBL with 86 whiffs, 20 more than #2 Makoto Kozuru. In 1949, he made major strides, hitting .261/.306/.512 with 31 home runs while cutting his strikeouts by 19 despite 100 more at-bats. He finished 10th in slugging, 5th in home runs (between Michio Nishizawa and Noboru Aota) and third with 69 strikeouts (behind Torao Ooka and Sadayuki Minagawa).
In 1950, Sugiyama slumped to .241/.298/.429 with 21 HR and stole 19 bases in 23 tries. He was 4th in the new Central League in whiffs (the JPBL having been divided into two loops). The left fielder produced at a .289/.341/.519 clip with 18 dingers in 1951. He was 5th in the CL in slugging (between Fumio Fujimura and Wally Yonamine), tied Saburo Hirai and Akira Iwamoto for 3rd in triples (7), ranked 5th in home runs (between Fujimura and Kiyoshi Sugiura) and tied Yoshiyuki Iwamoto and Kozuru for 4th with 43 strikeouts.
Sugiyama's best overall season was 1952 - he hit .306/.396/.639 with 29 doubles, 27 home runs and 84 RBI. He was on the CL leaderboard in average (7th, between Toshimichi Kunieda and Shigeru Chiba), OBP (4th, between Yonamine and Fujimura), slugging (1st by 80 points over Nishizawa), OPS (1st by 50 points ahead of Nishizawa), doubles (tied for second with Fujimura, 4 shy of Yonamine), home runs (1st, 2 ahead of Sugiura), RBI (3rd behind Nishizawa and Fujimura), triples (5, tied for 6th), strikeouts (53, 4th, between Katsumi Shiraishi and Akiyoshi Kobayashi) and total bases (230, 4th, between Yonamine and Tsuguo Goto). He joined Yuko Minamimura and Yonamine as the Best Nine outfield picks in the CL.
The Dragons left fielder batted .283/.352/.479 with 16 homers and 70 RBI in 1953. He was 4th in slugging (between Takao Sato and Masayasu Kaneda), 8th in OPS (between Yonamine and Riichi Kodama), 4th in home runs, 7th in RBI (between Shinsuke Yogi and Hirai) and tied Kobayashi for 9th with 45 whiffs. He was the starting LF for the CL in all three 1953 NPB All-Star Games, going 0 for 7 overall; Yonamine replaced him in LF in the first two games. The CL won one of the three contests.
In 1954, Sugiyama hit .273/.348/.518 with 28 HR and 91 RBI. He was third in slugging (behind Aota and Yonamine), tied for second in games played (129), 4th in runs (71), tied Kenjiro Tamiya for 5th in doubles (26), was second in home runs (3 behind Aota), tied Hiroyuki Watanabe for the RBI lead, was third in caught stealing (12, only 11 successes), tied Jun Hakota for the most double-play grounders (20), tied Tatsuro Hiroka and Kodama for 5th in walks (54) and led with 78 strikeouts (13 more than #2 Yukihiko Machida). In the first 1954 NPB All-Star Game, he pinch-hit for Chiba and fanned against Atsushi Aramaki in a 5-2 CL loss. In Game 2, he batted for Chiba again and singled off Fumio Takechi in a 2-1 loss. He did not play the field either game. He, Watanabe and Yonamine made the CL Best Nine in the outfield. He was 1 for 3 with a RBI in game 1 of the 1954 Japan Series but was hit by a pitch from Sadaaki Nishimura and missed the next six games as Chunichi won their first Japan Series.
The Aichi native slumped to .242/.278/.440 with 19 homers in 1955. He tied Yoshio Yoshida for 7th in the CL in doubles (24), was 4th in home runs (between Fujimura and Kozuru), tied Kozuru for 3rd in RBI (67) and was 3rd in whiffs (79, after Machida and Sato). He continued to struggle in All-Star competition. In the first 1955 NPB All-Star Game, he replaced Tamiya in the lineup and Kaneda in LF, going 0 for 3 in a 2-0 loss. In Game 2, he pinch-hit for Tamiya and went 0 for 3 in a 9-4 win.
In 1956, Sugiyama hit .214/.262/.367; his 11 homers still tied Kozuru and Tamiya for 7th in the CL. He batted .185/.241/.323 in 1957. He tied Tamiya and Yonamine for 9th with 12 home runs and was third with 91 strikeouts (behind Andy Miyamoto and Machida). He hit .259/.299/.396 in 1958. The veteran hit nine home runs, his first time in single digits. He moved to the Kokutetsu Swallows in 1959 and hit .149/.230/.269 in 29 games. With the 1960 Kintetsu Buffaloes, he batted .210/.266/.299 with only 4 home runs in 99 games.
Overall, Sugiyama had hit .249/.306/.443 in 1,391 games, with 593 runs and 698 RBI. He hit 209 home runs and stole 105 bases in 188 tries. Through 2011, he was still on the NPB career leaderboard in triples (39, tied for 80th with six others, including another Sugiyama, Kohei Sugiyama), home runs (tied for 86th with Jinten Haku despite having played in a low-homer era) and caught stealing (tied for 70th with Teruyuki Takakura and Kozo Kawai).