Takashi Yamaguchi

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Takashi Yamaguchi

Biographical Information[edit]

Takashi Yamaguchi pitched eight seasons for the Hankyu Braves, making four All-Star teams in his brief career.

Yamaguchi played for Matsushita Electronic in the Japanese industrial leagues after college. He was Hankyu's first-round pick in 1974. Yamaguchi had a strong debut in 1975, going 12-13 but with a 2.93 ERA and only 169 hits in 203 IP. He made the Pacific League All-Star team. He was 9th in the PL in ERA and tied for the lead with four shutouts (even with Osamu Higashio, Akio Matsubara and Shinichi Yamauchi). He was named the league's Rookie of the Year.

Yamaguchi's success continued into the postseason. He went 1-0 with two saves and a 2.16 ERA in the 1975 Japan Series to win MVP honors; he won game three and saved games five and six. He fanned 21 in 24 2/3 IP for the Series.

In 1976, Yamaguchi went 12-10 with 9 saves and a 2.83 ERA though his 91 walks led the league. He made the All-Star team and finished 10th in ERA. He won game one of the 1976 Japan Series and saved game three but lost game four; he had a 4.50 ERA for the Series and fanned 22 in 18 innings. He only allowed 12 hits but walked 14.

Yamaguchi had a similar campaign in 1977, going 10-12 with 11 saves and a 3.05 ERA. He allowed only 141 hits in 179 2/3 innings but walked a league-high 85. He was 8th in ERA. In the 1977 Japan Series, Takashi allowed 5 runs in 7 1/3 IP and lost a game. He made his third All-Star team.

In 1978, Yamaguchi went 13-4 with 14 saves and a 2.78 ERA. He gave up 90 hits in 122 2/3 IP. He made his last All-Star team. He led the PL in saves and save points and was named Fireman of the Year.

Yamaguchi had a 1.97 ERA and 1-0 record in 1979; in 32 innings, he allowed only 19 hits but walked 23. Given his limited workload, it was likely due to injury. In 1980, Takashi was 1-3 with three saves and a 5.14 ERA, walking 31 in 28 innings while only striking out twelve. He pitched just 3 games in 1981, with 11 runs in 9 innings. He wrapped up with a 1-1, 10.20 record in 1982, giving up 15 walks and 24 hits in 15 innings.

Overall, despite his quick decline, Yamaguchi was 50-43 with 44 saves and a 3.18 ERA in 195 games in Nippon Pro Baseball.

After retiring as a player, Yamaguchi was a coach for the Orix BlueWave and Hanshin Tigers.

Source: Japan Baseball Daily