- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 158 lb.
Endo was picked by the Whales in the third round of the 1977 draft. As a rookie in 1978, he was 1-0 with a 4.56 ERA in two starts and nine relief outings. By 1979, he was a Central League All-Star. In 47 games (24 starts), he was 12-12 with 8 saves and a 3.81 ERA. He tied Takenori Emoto and Kenichi Kajima for the league lead in losses. Moving to a nearly full-time relief role (2 starts in 54 games), the right-hander was 5-5 with 16 saves and a 3.17 ERA in 1980. He struck out 108 in 105 innings. He was five saves shy of CL leader Yutaka Enatsu.
Back into a swingman role in 1981, Endo fell to 8-11, 3.92 with two saves. In 1982, he started 34 games and only relieved in 4; he had a 14-17, 3.07 record. He led the league in losses, walks (71) and earned runs allowed (83) while placing 8th in ERA (between Kazuhiko Kudo and Takamasa Suzuki). Turning things around, he improved to 18-9, 2.87 in 1983, walking only 42 and fanning 186 in 238 1/3 innings. He almost won the pitching Triple Crown, leading in wins and whiffs and finishing second in ERA (.25 behind Osamu Fukuma). He won the Sawamura Award as the top hurler in Japan.
The Taiyo hurler was a workhorse in 1984, winning 17, losing 17 and posting a 3.68 ERA. He completed 18 of 37 starts and worked 276 2/3 innings, with 255 hits, 208 strikeouts, 39 homers, 60 walks and 1,138 batters faced. He made his first All-Star team in five years. He led the league in innings pitched, wins, losses, complete games, batters faced, hits allowed, gopher balls, strikeouts and earned runs allowed (113). In 1985, he was somewhat less busy, going 14-7 with a 3.15 ERA in 28 games and 214 1/3 IP. He completed 16 games, leading the CL again. When he struck out Akinobu Mayumi on May 16, he reached 1,000 career strikeouts, the 70th player to that level. He made his third All-Star team and finished 4th in the circuit in ERA (behind Tatsuo Komatsu, Jun Kawabata and Masaki Saito).
The Fukushima native was 13-13 with a 3.01 ERA in 1986, leading the league in innings (233), batters faced (967), hits allowed (242), homers allowed (29) and strikeouts (185). He only walked 31. He was an All-Star again and finished 7th in ERA (sandwiched between Kazuhisa Kawaguchi and Hikaru Takano). He became the 93rd NPB hurler to 100 wins. In 1987, #24 had another fine year at 14-7, 2.88, finishing 4th in the league in ERA behind Masumi Kuwata, Kawabata and Komatsu. He led with 15 complete games (in 23 starts), the last time he led in either a positive or neutral category. He walked only 25 in 181 1/3 innings.
The Taiyo veteran fell to 5-12, 4.76 with a .290 opponent average in 1988. He was even worse in 1989 at 2-8, 6.17. Opponents hit .318 and went deep 22 times in 89 innings. He tied Manabu Kitabeppu, Hiroshi Nagatomi and Takashi Nishimoto for the league lead. Moving to relief for the first time in almost a decade, he found new life for one year. In 1990, he went 6-6 with 21 saves, a 2.17 ERA, .198 opponent average and .98 WHIP. He made his final All-Star team.
Overall, Endo was 134-128 with 58 saves and a 3.49 ERA in 460 NPB games (276 starts). He struck out 1,654 and walked 498 in 2,208 1/3 innings, allowing 2,137 hits (291 home runs). He completed 109 games, 23 of them without issuing a walk. At the plate, he hit .153/.172/.176. Through 2010, he was among the NPB career leaders only in walkless complete games (tied for 25th with Fumio Narita, Takeshi Yasuda and Suguru Egawa).
After his playing career
After his playing career ended, Endo was a baseball commentator for TBS and a coach for the Yokohama BayStars (the former Taiyo franchise).