Teruyuki Takakura (高倉 照幸)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 165 lb.
- High School Kumamoto Shogyo High School
Teruyuki Takakura was a nine-time All-Star in 18 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Takakura debuted with the Nishitetsu Lions in 1953; the 18-year-old was 3 for 16. He got his big break in 1954 when Nishitetsu LF Etsuro Otsuka got tuberculosis (he became the Lions' center fielder, with Seiji Sekiguchi moving to left); he opened with two doubles off Takao Kajimoto in that contest. For the season, Takakura hit .255/.280/.380 in 90 games. He batted .222/.300/.278 with one run and one RBI in the 1954 Japan Series as the Lions fell in 7 games to the Chunichi Dragons.
In 1955, Takakura produced at a .276/.325/.443 clip with 17 home runs and 71 RBI; he also stole 33 bases in 42 tries. He was 5th in the Pacific League in home runs, 8th in RBI (between Charles Luis and Akitoshi Kodama) and tied Kiyoshi Watanabe for 7th in swipes. He hit .259/.310/.379 in 1956 with 35 steals in 44 attempts. He was sixth in stolen bases. In 1956 NPB All-Star Game 2, he started in center and hit 6th for the PL, going 0 for 4 in a 2-0 loss to the Central League. He was 2 for 10 in the 1956 Japan Series as the Lions beat the Yomiuri Giants.
The Kumamoto native's batting line rose to .279/.321/.434 in 1957 and he stole 17 bases in 26 tries. In 1957 NPB All-Star Game 1, he went 0 for 2 after taking over in CF in a 5-2 PL win (CF Kazuhiro Yamauchi moving to LF; Sekiguchi had been in LF). In Game 2, a 5-4 loss, he replaced Shoichi Busujima in CF and went 1 for 2 with a walk. For the season, he was 10th in the league in average, 10th in slugging, 4th in runs, tied for 5th in doubles (with Takao Katsuragi, Isami Okamoto and Kenichiro Okamoto) and tied Katsutoyo Yoshida for 10th in home runs (11). In the 1957 Japan Series, he was just 1 for 14 but Nishitetsu beat Yomiuri thanks to the hitting of outfield mates Hiroshi Oshita and Sekiguchi among others and the pitching of Kazuhisa Inao and Hisafumi Kawamura.
He hit .276/.343/.383 in 1958, with 7 hit-by-pitches (one behind leader Katsuya Nomura). On October 2, he hit a pinch-hit grand slam. He did shine in the 1958 Japan Series, batting .385/.407/.462 to join with Yasumitsu Toyoda and Futoshi Nakanishi in leading the Nishitetsu offense in a 7-game win over Yomiuri. In 1959, he batted .304/.344/.403 with six triples, 60 runs and 17 steals while only being caught five times. He was 3 for 5 with a run and RBI in 1959 NPB All-Star Game 1, a 9-0 win for the PL. He was 0 for 2 in game 2 before Junzo Sekine pinch-hit for him. He made the PL leaderboards in average (5th, between Yoshinori Hirose and Akio Saionji), OBP (9th, between Sekine and Kodama), hits (132, 10th, between Toyoda and Kenjiro Tamiya), triples (tied for 8th) and steals (tied Hirose for 7th). He made his first Best Nine as he was picked as one of the PL's top three outfielders, alongside Sekiguchi and Kohei Sugiyama.
Takakura slumped to .230/.254/.331 in 51 games in 1960. In 1961, though, he was back in form, batting .301/.346/.462 with 15 home runs, 18 steals (in 27 tries) and 76 runs. He replaced Tamiya in CF in 1961 NPB All-Star Game 1, going 0 for 1 in a 3-0 win. In Game 2, a 4-2 win, he replaced Yamauchi in left and struck out against Ritsuo Horimoto. He was 7th in the league in average (between Kusuo Tanaka and Yoshida), 9th in slugging (between Toyoda and Yoshida), 9th in runs, tied Nomura and Hachiro Yamamoto for 9th in hits (146), tied Kingo Motoyashiki and Tanaka for 9th in triples (5), tied Sugiyama for 10th in home runs and tied Isao Harimoto for 9th in steals (his last time among the steal leaders).
The Nishitetsu flyhawk hit .294/.333/.427 with 27 doubles in 1962. He was 7th in the PL with 148 hits, 7th in doubles and tied for 10th with 12 circuit clouts. He replaced Tamiya in right in the 1962 NPB All-Star Game 1 and went 1 for 3 in a 7-0 win. In Game 2, he pinch-hit for Yukihiro Kubo in the 4th of a 5-4 win and was retired by Masatoshi Gondo. He set career highs in home runs (27) and runs (80) in 1963, though his OPS was down due to a lower average - he hit .254/.306/.443. His six homers leading off games that year tied a NPB record. He was 10th in the PL in slugging (between George Wilson and Hirose), 5th in home runs (between Kent Hadley and Buddy Peterson) and 8th in runs. In 1963 NPB All-Star Game 1, he pinch-hit for Hadley in the third and stayed in in CF (replacing Hamamoto there), going 1 for 2 with two RBI in a 6-4 loss; Sekine later batted for him. In Game 2, a 11-9 loss, he batted for Jack Bloomfield and took over RF from Yamauchi, going 1 for 2 with two runs and two RBI. He started in CF in game 3 and went 1 for 3 in a 8-5 loss. He hit only .172/.194/.207 in the 1963 Japan Series as Nishitetsu fell to Yomiuri.
Takakura had his best OPS in 1964 with a line of .317/.373/.484. He hit 16 home runs and scored 76 runs. In 1964 NPB All-Star Game 1, he went 4 for 5 with a steal out of the leadoff slot (he only had two steals all regular season) but Kodama had the team's only other hit in a 1-0 loss. In Game 2, he again led off and started in CF, got plunked by Gene Bacque in his lone appearance and was replaced by Hamamoto in center in a 5-1 loss. He did not play in game 3, a 10-2 win. He finished among the Pacific League leaders in runs (6th, between Kihachi Enomoto and Masahiro Doi), homers (16, 10th, but 5th among Japanese natives), average (3rd, trailing only Hirose and Hiramoto), OBP (5th, between Daryl Spencer and Kodama), slugging (6th, between Doi and Hadley) and OPS (5th, between Nomura and Doi). He made his second Best Nine, joining Hirose and Harimoto in the outfield.
The veteran slumped to .266/.305/.420 in 74 games in 1965. He starred in the 1965 NPB All-Star Games, hitting second and starting in right for the PL. In game 1, he was 0 for 2 in a 5-2 win. In game 2, he went 2 for 2 with a walk, two runs and a RBI in a 6-3 win before Francis Agcaoili batted for him; Takakura won game MVP honors. He was 0 for 2 to open game 3 then hit a homer in the 8th off Yukinori Miyata to tie it at 1; he left in a double switch and his homer was all the PL offense in a 1-1 tie.
Teruyuki hit .279/.323/.427 in 1966 to end his 14-year run with Nishitetsu. In his final All-Star nod, he played in the 1966 NPB All-Star Games. In the opener, he batted for Mitsuhiro Adachi and drove in a run against Kentaro Ogawa (presumably by sacrifice fly). The PL won 6-2. They followed with a 6-3 win in game 2, in which Takakura was 0 for 2 after replacing Hirose in center. He did not play in game 3, a 5-1 loss. He was 10th in the league with 20 doubles. Despite a relatively unimpressive offensive campaign, he made his third and final Best Nine, joining Busujima and Harimoto as the PL's top outfielders.
In a cost-cutting move, the Lions shipped him to Yomiuri for light-hitting catcher Katsutoshi Miyadera and cash. He hit a very impressive .274/.320/.527 with 15 HR in 226 AB for Yomiuri in 1967 as elbow problems limited his availability. Had he qualified, he would have been 5th in the CL in slugging (between Shinichi Eto and Dave Roberts). He was back in the lineup by the 1967 Japan Series and hit .294/.429/.529 as Yomiuri beat the Hankyu Braves. He homered in game 7.
In 1968, he fell into a backup role with the emergence of Shigeru Takada. He hit .212/.315/.327. He went 0 for 2 in the 1968 Japan Series as the Giants again topped the Braves. He moved to the Sankei Atoms in 1969 and hit .224/.266/.391, still showing good pop (7 HR in 161 AB). He batted .312/.398/.370 in 165 plate appearances for the team (now the Yakult Atoms in 1970 to end his playing career.
Takakura hit .276/.324/.422 in 1,793 NPB games, with 782 runs, 640 RBI, 168 homers and 178 steals in 261 tries. Through 2011, he was 74th in NPB history in games played, 80th in at-bats (between Koichi Tabuchi and Akira Eto), 90th in rund, 83rd in hits (between Kazuhiro Wada and Shigeru Chiba), tied with Michio Nishizawa for 79th in doubles (271), tied for 86th in triples (38), 84th in steals (between Isami Okamoto and Kazuo Horii) and 95th with 2,462 total bases.
He later was a broadcaster.