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Junji Ogawa

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Junji Ogawa

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[edit] Biographical Information

Junji Ogawa has played, coached and managed in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Ogawa was a catcher and pitcher in high school, throwing three shutouts in the 1975 summer Koshien to help his team take the title. He was on a high school All-Star team that went to the USA and South Korea; a shoulder injury forced him to move to the outfield when he went to college. After school, he played for Kawai Musical Instruments in the industrial leagues. The Yakult Swallows chose him in the fourth round of the 1981 draft.

Ogawa hit .213/.220/.279 in 85 games as a rookie in 1982, then .252/.258/.382 in 71 games in 1983; the free swinger had just 3 walks in 335 plate appearances over those two seasons. His first career homer was July 18, 1982, off Kazuhiko Ushijima.

In 1984, Ogawa upped his walk total to 17 and hit .252/.294/.424 with 11 homers in 278 AB, showing good pop. He went deep 11 times and drew a career-high 27 walks in 1985, batting .239/.299/.361.

Ogawa had 91 plate appearances in 94 games in 1986 with just one walk to 34 strikeouts, eking out a .184/.189/.322 line in his bench role. Junji rebounded to .240/.280/.432 with 11 home runs in 229 AB in 1987. He had his best season in 1988, when he hit .290/.338/.493 in 207 AB as a backup outfielder. He hit .264/.355/.453 in 122 plate appearances over 95 games in 1989.

Junji hit .169/.281/.455 with 7 homers in 77 AB in 1990, then was 6 for 52 with 3 walks, 15 strikeouts and two home runs in 1991. Moving to the Nippon Ham Fighters for his 11th and final season, 1992, he was 7 for 48 with two home runs, 3 walks and 16 strikeouts in 47 games.

Overall, Ogawa produced at a .236/.281/.395 rate in 940 games in NPB, with 1,897 plate appearances. He hit 66 home runs in 1,747 at-bats, struck out 406 times and drew only 108 walks.

After retiring as a player, Ogawa served several roles in the Yakult chain. He worked for the Swallows as a scout, coach and minor league manager. He was head coach of the Swallows in May 2010 when Shigeru Takada stepped down as manager. Ogawa was promoted on an interim basis to take his place. The club had gone 13-32 before he took over, then 50-31-3 in his first 87 games. Yakult rewarded him by retaining him for 2011.

Sources: Japan Baseball Daily, Japanball.com

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