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Ikuo Shimano

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Ikuo Shimano

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 165 lb.

[edit] Biographical Information

Ikuo Shimano was a 3-time Diamond Glove outfielder who later coached and managed in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Shimano played for Meidensha in the industrial leagues after college. He signed with the Chunichi Dragons and was 0 for 1 in 1963 then 5 for 27 with a double, walk and 8 runs in 1964 (presumably pinch-running often). In 1965, he hit .194/.235/.284 with 14 steals in 19 tries; he had 169 plate appearances in 99 games. On April 16, he hit his first homer, off Minoru Nakamura. He batted .238/.287/.294 in 141 plate appearances and 104 games in 1966 and .206/.243/.235 in similar playing time in 1967. He began 1968 with Chunichi then was dealt with Kimihiro Sato to the Nankai Hawks for Motoaki Horigome. For the season, he hit .208/.258/.340 in 159 plate appearances and 113 games, with 15 steals in 19 tries. His 14 steals for Nankai tied Takayuki Nishida for 9th in the Pacific League.

Ikuo produced at a .266/.333/.355 clip as a stater in 1969, pilfering 21 bases while being caught 6 times; he had only 38 runs and 28 RBI. He belted a career-high six dingers. He tied Atsushi Nagaike for 5th in the PL in swipes. In 1970, the Tochigi native was back to a part-time role (.292/.331/.357 in 165 PA, 81 G) and only had 5 steals in 11 tries. He batted just .179/.225/.179 in 89 plate appearances and 82 games in 1971. He improved his batting line to .281/.327/.351 in 203 plate appearances in 1972 and stole 12 bases in 15 attempts.

After stealing 85 bases in his first 10 seasons, Shimano stole 61 bases in 75 tries in 1973; he hit .252/.287/.301 with 68 runs and 28 RBI. He won a Diamond Glove Award as one of the PL's top three defensive outfielders; the speedy Hawk was joined by Yutaka Fukumoto and Sumio Hirota. He was among the PL leaders in at-bats (559, 1st, 60 more than #2 Hirota), hits (141, 8th, between Isao Harimoto and Michiyo Arito), steals (2nd, 34 behind leader Fukumoto, 28 over #3 Kunizo Umeda) and caught stealing (3rd behind Don Buford and Fukumoto). He was one of the few bright spots for Nankai when they fell to the Yomiuri Giants in the 1973 Japan Series, going 5 for 20 with 2 walks, 2 steals, a double and 3 runs; the rest of the club hit .176 with three extra-base hits.

He batted .274/.321/.366 with 6 triples and 30 steals in 47 tries in 1974; he was among the league leaders in triples (2nd, one behind Fukumoto), steals (3rd behind Fukumoto and Tsuyoshi Oshita) and caught stealing (2nd, 6 behind Fukumoto). He, Fukumoto and Hirota again won the Diamond Gloves in the PL. He faded to .229/.269/.296 in 1975 with 28 steals in 35 attempts. He was 5th in the league in stolen bases, between Mitsuru Fujiwara and Narihiro Abe. He won his last Diamond Glove, the selections being identical with the prior two years.

Shimano was traded with Takenori Emoto, Yutaka Ikeuchi and Tsutomu Hasegawa to the Hanshin Tigers for Yutaka Enatsu and George Altman. Used as a backup by Hanshin behind Takenori Ikebe, Masayoshi Higashida and Mike Reinbach, he hit .179/.214/.209 in 70 plate appearances over 78 games in 1976; he stole 11 bases while being caught 3 times and presumably was back in a pinch-running capacity often. In 1977, he batted .262/.324/.354 in 76 plate appearances and 68 games; he stole 7 bases without being caught. He was 9-for-9 in steals at age 34 in 1978 and hit .190/.240/.296 in 196 plate appearances, his most as a Tiger. He was 3 for 12 with 22 runs and 14 steals in 16 tries in 43 games in 1979. In just 43 games, mostly as a pinch-runner, he still was 10th in the Central League in steals. He did not bat at all in 1980, scored 10 runs and stole 6 bases in 9 tries in 35 games.

Shimano later coached for Hanshin. In August 1982, he was one of the principal participants in the Violent Tiger Incident, attacking umpires Wataru Wakiya and Isao Okada, leading him to be suspended and fined; he was reinstated the next spring. He was a baseball commentator in 1985. He later coached for Chunichi (1986-1991) and Hanshin (1992-1994). He began 1995 as the Dragons' minor league manager but became their third skipper (following Morimichi Takagi and Sadayuki Tokutake) of the season after a 25-51 start; he went 25-29 the remainder of the way but was replaced in 1996 by Senichi Hoshino. He coached for Chunichi through 2001 then coached for Hanshin in 2002, 2003 and 2005 to 2007 until he died of stomach cancer.

Shimano hit .242/.285/.313 in 3,283 plate appearances over 1,466 games and 18 seasons in NPB. He had 90 doubles, 27 doubles, 24 homers, 431 runs, 211 RBI and 251 steals in 329 attempts while making 35 errors. Through 2011, he was 40th in NPB annals in stolen bases and tied with Hideshi Miyake for 89th in times caught.

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