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From BR Bullpen
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 10", Weight 182 lb.
Corner outfielder Shigeru Kurihashi was a four-time All-Star in 16 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Kurihashi was a first-round pick of the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1973 and would spend his entire career with the club. He was 13 for 73 with 4 doubles, a homer, 4 walks and 21 whiffs as a backup in 1974. In 1975, he did even worse in less action (9 for 55, 2 2B, HR, 2 BB). He hit .251/.304/.390 as a semi-regular in 1976 then improved to .263/.316/.426 with 13 home runs in 1977.
Shigeru made his first Pacific League All-Star team in 1978 while batting .292/.384/.506 with 20 HR. He improved his home run total to a career-high 32 in 1979 with 80 RBI and a batting line of .291/.347/.556. He drew 10 intentional walks to lead the league and also stole 16 bases in 21 tries, setting a career high in that department as well. Kintetsu made its first Japan Series ever, but he was just 2 for 18 with four walks in the 1979 Japan Series as they fell to the Hiroshima Carp. He was picked to his first Best Nine, joining Yutaka Fukumoto and Hiromasa Arai in the outfield. He tied Bobby Marcano for third in the PL in dingers, behind teammate Charlie Manuel and Leon Lee, leading all native Japanese.
#2 had his best OPS by producing at a .328/.412/.585 rate in 1980. He set career highs for runs (85) and RBI (84) and delivered 28 home runs. He was third in the PL in average behind the brother duo of Leron Lee and Leon Lee, led in OBP and made his second All-Star team. He joined Fukumoto and Leron Lee as the Best Nine picks in the outfield. In the 1980 Japan Series, he was 3 for 16 with 3 walks and one home run as Kintetsu fell again to Hiroshima.
The Komazawa alumnus fell to .263/.363/.442 in an off-year in 1981. He returned to the PL All-Star team in 1982, finishing the year at .311/.422/.551 with 22 HR and 79 RBI. He led the league with 11 intentional walks as well as 14 times hit-by-pitch. He made his final Best Nine, alongside Arai and Fukumoto. He was third in the PL in average behind Hiromitsu Ochiai and Arai as well as being just .006 behind OBP leader Ochiai.
At age 31/32, the veteran hit .294/.382/.548 with 23 round-trippers in 1983. His home run total was down to 14 in 1984 and he batted .281/.359/.450; he also made his last All-Star team. In 1985, he put up a .267/.346/.449 line with 18 HR, with his only career cycle coming on May 21. Kurihashi batted .270/.350/.452 with 16 home runs in 1986, his 10th and last time with double-digit homers.
Shigeru hit .298/.360/.464 in a part-time role in 1987, then was only 17 for 100 (6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 BB) in 1988, his worst performance in 13 years. He stuck around for one more year, going 14 for 75 with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 13 walks in 1989. He struck out in his only at-bat in the 1989 Japan Series, when Kintetsu lost to the Yomiuri Giants, again in a 7-game Series. Ralph Bryant, Arai and Takahisa Suzuki were now the starting outfielders for Kintetsu.
Overall, Kurihashi batted .278/.358/.479 with 215 home runs, 705 walks and 701 RBI in 1,550 games in NPB. He also stole 105 bases in 161 tries and drew 511 walks. After retiring as a player, he worked for Asahi TV as a baseball commentator.
Source: Japan Baseball Daily