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Takahisa Suzuki

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Takahisa Suzuki

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 185 lb.

Outfielder Takahisa Suzuki was the fifth-round draft pick of the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1984 out of the industrial leagues, where he played for Den Den Hokkaido. Suzuki would play for Kintetsu for 15 years. He first made the Buffaloes roster in 1986, hitting .236/.274/.472 and showing good power (9 HR in 127 AB). The next year, he was playing regularly and homered 21 times while batting .262/.308/.449. In '88, the 24-year-old flyhawk put up a .246/.309/.439 line with 20 homers, as he was raising his walk total while cutting his strikeouts. On October 19, he had a game-winning double that scored Masataka Nashida and that almost gave Kintetsu its first pennant in its 39-year history. 1989 marked another 20-homer year and he batted .286/.341/.473. This time, the Buffaloes won the Pacific League flag. In the 1989 Japan Series, Suzuki homered in game one but only batted .167/.231/.375 overall and Kintetsu fell in 7 games to the Yomiuri Giants. Takahisa made his first All-Star team in '90 when he batted .270/.338/.476 with a career-best 22 homers and 55 walks. In 1991, the outfielder put up a .269/.356/.450 line, homered 18 times and again was an All-Star selection.

At age 28, Suzuki hit only .186/.289/.383 in 167 AB and he continued to struggle the next year (.210/.274/.351). In 1994, he made his third and final All-Star team the same year another outfielder named Suzuki, Ichiro Suzuki, was tearing up the PL as a rookie. That season, Takahisa produced at a .263/.340/.444 clip with 19 homers in a return to form. In '95, Suzuki hit .253/.332/.395 with 16 home runs, still good enough for third on the club behind Lee Stevens and Norihiro Nakamura.

Now 31, Takahisa only clubbed nine home runs in 1996 while batting .268/.344/.385. On April 8, 1997, he hit the first home run in the history of the Osaka Dome. Overall, he managed to put up a .261/.328/.385 line, remaining at an even keel with 10 homers. In 1998, he slugged .385 for a third year in a row while batting .273 with a .325 OBP. Koichi Isobe was beginning to take over one corner outfield slot while Tuffy Rhodes occupied the other.

In 1999, the veteran outfielder was mostly a pinch-hitter and only hit .218/.286/.356. He finished his playing career the next year by going 2 for 20. Overall, he hit .257/.326/.422 with 192 home runs. After retiring, he became a coach for the club. He was working as a hitting instructor for the Kintetsu ni-gun team in 2004 when he began to feel sluggish. He collapsed while walking his dog one day and a few days later passed away. Only 40 years old, the cause of death was believed to be an acute tracheal infection.

Principal source: Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland

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