Shinji Takahashi (高橋 信二)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 187 lb.
Shinji Takahashi was a Pacific League All-Star in 2004.
Takahashi was picked by the Nippon Ham Fighters in the 7th round of the 1996 draft. He spent a few years in the minors before debuting in 2000 with a RBI double off Kiyoshi Toyoda in his first at-bat in the Pacific League; it was his only plate appearance that year in the PL. He went 6 for 22 with a walk in 2001 and 3 for 12 with a double a year later.
Takahashi was thrust into the role as primary catcher for Nippon Ham in 2003; he hit .262/.305/.437; his first home run came off Daisuke Kato on April 8. He had a great year in 2004, batting .285/.345/.535 with 26 HR and 84 RBI. He made the Pacific League All-Star team and set a franchise record for homers by a backstop. He was second on the team in homers and RBI behind Fernando Seguignol. He tied Koichi Isobe for 9th in the circuit in home runs, was 9th in slugging and 5th in average with runners in scoring position (.368).
Following his big year, the Okayama native slumped to .226/.254/.366 in 54 games in 2005 and missed time with a torn knee ligament. In 2006, he split catching duties with Shinya Tsuruoka and batted .251/.289/.363. He was 1 for 6 in the 2006 Japan Series as Nippon Ham won its first Japan Series title.
In 2007, the Nippon Ham catcher hit .255/.306/.392, hitting 4th or 5th at times. He went 2 for 10 with a double in the 2007 Japan Series. He remained in the heart of the order in 2008 and began playing some first base in lieu of Terrmel Sledge as well as DH and catcher. He hit .286/.333/.415 that year.
Through 2008, his career batting line is .266/.313/.428.
Takahashi was a late addition to Japan's provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic.