- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 10", Weight 167 lb.
- High School Chukyo High School
Norihiro Mizutani pitched for 17 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball and was a two-time All-Star.
The Chunichi Dragons took him in the second round of the 1968 draft. He made his debut with the big club a year later, allowing 7 runs in five innings and going 0-1. He allowed two runs in 1/3 of an inning in 1972, his next time up. In 1973, he pitched for both Chunichi and the Lotte Orions (3-1, 3.32 in 22 games between the two clubs). He would spend the remainder of his career with Lotte.
In 1974, Mizutani went 2-1 with a save, 2.18 ERA, .220 opponent average and a 1.01 WHIP out of the Lotte bullpen. He played in his only Japan Series that year. In the 1974 Japan Series, the left-hander tossed 1 1/3 shutout innings despite three hits as Lotte beat his old Chunichi Dragons club. He entered the Orions rotation in 1975 and did well (8-7, 2.80). He made his first Pacific League All-Star team. He finished 8th in the league in ERA, between Yoshitaka Kihara and Takashi Yamaguchi.
The Nagoya native had a 3-4, 3.48 record as a swingman in 1976. In 1977, he was 8-6 with a save, 3.18 ERA and .227 opponent average. Had he qualified, he would have ranked 9th in ERA. The next year, he fell to 5-8, 4.33. Mizutani was 7-11 with a 5.12 ERA and .311 opponent average in 1979. He improved to 11-9, 3.49 in 1980; the 30-year-old finished fourth in the PL in ERA behind Isamu Kida, Hisashi Yamada and Tokinari Nishina.
The veteran hurler went 12-11 with a 4.00 ERA in 1981 while walking 87 batters (most in the PL) in 191 1/3 IP. He was 14-11 with a 2.95 ERA in 1982, tossing a career-high 219 1/3 innings. He led the league in both complete games (20) and walks (89). He was 5th in ERA, between Hirohisa Matsunuma and Takanori Yamauchi. Making his second All-Star team in 1983, Norihiro was 10-14 with a 5.35 ERA and .301 opponent average. He led the league in losses (tied with Yamauchi and Yutaka Yanagida), batters faced (833), homers allowed (31, tied with Keishi Suzuki) and runs allowed (120, tied with Yamauchi).
The Lotte lefty posted a 5-11, 5.09 record in 1984 then improved to 9-5, 4.28 in 1985 before slumping back down to 7-10, 4.83 in 1986. He wrapped up his career in 1987, going 3-1 with a 4.38 ERA and .312 opponent average.
Overall, Mizutani was 108-111 with two saves and a 4.01 ERA in 1,946 2/3 innings in NPB. He started 295 games and relieved in 181 more, allowing 2,047 hits (a .274 average), 241 homers and 774 walks while fanning 952. He later served as a Lotte scout.
Source: Japan Baseball Daily