Tomio Tashiro (Oba Q)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 193 lb.
- High School Fujisawa Shogyo High School
Tomio Tashiro played 16 years for the Taiyo Whales. Primarily a third baseman, he never made the Best Nine; Masayuki Kakefu and Sachio Kinugasa were the big stars at the position during Tashiro's peak. Tashiro also played first base, shortstop and the outfield. He had three 3-homer games in his Nippon Pro Baseball career.
Tashiro was a third-round pick in the 1972 draft then spent several years in the minors. in 1975, he led the minor Eastern League in RBI. He debuted for Taiyo in 1976, hitting .255/.286/.400 in 89 games. He was a full-time player by 1977, when he socked 35 homers and drove home 88 while batting .302/.373/.583. He led the league with 118 strikeouts. He made his only Central League All-Star team that year. He was well behind CL homer leader Sadaharu Oh, who smacked 50.
In 1978, Tashiro hit .288/.351/.528 with 27 homers and 104 RBI. He was 14 RBI behind league leader Oh. When Taiyo picked up veteran Mitsuo Motoi for 1979, Tomio often had to play first base or the outfield (or sit on the bench). He hit .235/.297/.440 with 19 homers in 357 AB in that unsteady situation. It was Tashiro's last time on a winning club as the 1980s were a dark age for Taiyo.
Motoi returned to second base, his traditional spot, in 1980, giving Tashiro full time action again. He batted .297/.364/.589 with 36 homers and 94 RBI and led the league with 104 strikeouts. He was 8 homers and 18 RBI behind leader Koji Yamamoto; Tashiro just missed the top 10 in batting average. It is probable that only Yamamoto and Kenichi Yazawa had better slugging percentages in the 1980 CL.
In 1981, Tomio hit .268/.324/.495 with 30 home runs and a league-best 7 sacrifice flies. Tashiro swatted 27 home runs in 1982 and led the CL with 102 strikeouts. He hit .254/.324/.480. The next year, the veteran slugger belted 28 long balls and drove home 91 runners while producing at a .251/.307/.502 rate. On August 5, he became the 41st player in Nippon Pro Baseball history to hit 200 home runs.
Tashiro hit .261/.336/.420 in 1984, with 21 home runs. In 1985, the 30/31-year-old batted .260/.323/.500 with 24 home runs. It was the 8th time in 9 seasons he had topped 20 homers, but he would never do so again.
Tomio's batting line in 1986 read .240/.297/.480; he hit 13 homers and drove in 40 in 67 games, missing time due to a wrist fracture he sustained in a collision. Tashiro played 82 games in 1987 but only hit 5 homers and produced at a .245/.285/.376 rate, his first time slugging under .400. He set a new pace by reaching 1,000 strikeouts in his 1,304th game, the quickest anyone had ever fanned so much in NPB history.
The old-timer was basically a pinch-hitter in 1990, when he bounced back to a .293/.405/.517 line with 3 homers and 19 RBI in 58 AB. He was 1 for 12 with two walks in 1991, but went out in style as his final hit was a grand slam on October 11 off Minoru Kasai.
Overall, Tashiro hit .266/.328/.487 in 1,526 games in NPB. He homered 278 times and drove in 867 in 4,961 at-bats while striking out 1,081 times.
After retiring, Tashiro opened a restaurant. He later coached for the Yokohama BayStars farm team. In 2009, he became Yokohama's manager in mid-May, replacing Akihiko Oya. The team did not make much progress and Tashiro was not retained for 2010, being replaced by Takao Obana.
Primary Source: Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland