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Takeshi Doigaki

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Takeshi Doigaki

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 4", Weight 140 lb.

Takeshi Doigaki was Japan's top catcher in the years following World War II.

Doigaki broke in with the Hanshin Tigers in 1940, going 8 for 41 with 6 doubles and a walk. He hit .227/.306/.284 in 1941 and .249/.331/.339 with 8 triples in 1942. He then missed three seasons due to the War.

Returning to the field in 1946, he hit .325/.381/.442 with 10 triples, 70 runs and 70 RBI, striking out only 19 times in 412 AB. The pint-sized backstop was third in the Japanese Professional Baseball League in average behind Masayasu Kaneda and Yutaka Tagawa.

He won Best Nine honors as the JPBL's elite catcher in 1947 (the awards were not given out in 1946) after hitting .259/.352/.350 with 16 steals. The Yonago native batted .285/.334/.395 with 38 doubles in 1948. He was 8th in average, between Fumio Fujimura and Shigeru Chiba. He was two doubles behind leader Kazuo Kasahara. He again won Best Nine honors. He had a strong season in 1949, batting .328/.385/.514 with 16 home runs and 86 RBI. He finished 4th in average behind Makoto Kozuru, Fujimura and Tetsuharu Kawakami and was picked to the Best Nine once more.

Moving to the Mainichi Orions in 1950, Doigaki produced at a .322/.387/.479 rate with 15 homers, 72 RBI and 16 steals in 22 tries. He tied Shigeya Iijima for 5th in the new Pacific League in average. He won the Best Nine as the PL's top catcher. He hit only .217/.333/.217 in the 1950 Japan Series, which Mainichi still won against the Shochiku Robins. It was the first Japan Series and it would be Mainichi's lone title.

Doigaki fell to .268/.347/.378 in 1951 but still made his fifth straight Best Nine. He rebounded to .296/.376/.472 in 1952 and missed the top 10 in average by one point. He made his sixth and last Best Nine at age 31. He hit .264/.322/.373 in 1953 and Jun Matsui replaced him as the Best Nine pick in the PL.

Doigaki switched to the Toei Flyers in 1954 and produced at .289/.366/.407 rate. He missed the top 10 in the Central League in average by .002. Despite better offensive numbers, he lost the Best Nine to import Jun Hirota. In 1955, he slumped to .255/.313/.294 in his last year as a starter. He returned to the PL with the Hankyu Braves in 1956 and hit only .186/.244/.246 in a backup role, then was 1 for 11 with a walk in 1957.

Overall, Doigaki put up a .282/.350/.400 line in 1,413 games in Nippon Pro Baseball, with only 298 strikeouts in 4,783 at-bats.

Doigaki later changed his last name to Wakamatsu. He coached for Hanshin, scouted for the Lotte Orions and was a baseball commentator. He died of pneumonia at age 69.

Source: Japanbaseballdaily.com


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