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Takuro Ishii

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Tadanori Ishii

BR minors page

[edit] Biographical Information

Takuro Ishii became the all-time leader in hits for the Yokohama BayStars franchise even though he began his career as a pitcher. Signed outside the draft in 1988, Ishii went 1-1 with a 3.56 ERA in 17 outings in '89, then won an Eastern League ERA title the next year, going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in his two games with the team (then the Taiyo Whales). He was 0-2 with a 9.20 ERA the next year to finish his pitching career at 1-4, 5.69. Having gone 3 for 8 at the plate, the franchise saw more hope with his bat for good reason.

Ishii became an infielder in 1992 and hit .269/.312/.352 as a part-timer. He was a regular in '93 and produced at a .266/.341/.372 rate. He led the Central League with five triples, tied Tetsuya Iida for the league lead with 24 steals and was thrown out 16 times, the most.

In '94, the Yokohama third baseman batted .251/.350/.326 and added 27 more walks, going from 42 to 69. His 39 sacrifice hits (same as in '93) led the league. He improved to .309/.407/.381 in his age 24 season and was third in the CL in OBP; he was caught stealing the most (11 times in 34 attempts). He also made the first of six CL All-Star teams. His 111 singles led the league.

Takuro hit .282/.383/.339 in 1996 and stole 45 in 66 tries. He scored 94 runs and moved to shortstop. He led the league with 604 plate appearances and was caught stealing the most. He was second in steals, five behind Koichi Ogata, and was third in runs, 3 behind Hideki Matsui and one behind Ogata.

He made his second All-Star squad in '97 and batted .319/.390/.424 while homering 10 times, the most he would clobber in any season. He was gunned down in 18 of 41 steal attempts, again leading the league in times caught. He scored 95 runs (third behind Ogata and Dwayne Hosey) and led the loop with 132 singles. His 166 hits were four behind leader Luis Lopez. He made his first Best Nine

In 1998, Takuro had a .314/.389/.431 batting line and improved his steal rate significantly, pilfering 39 of 49. He led the league in plate appearances (630), runs (103, tied with Matsui), singles (128), hits (174, one more than Takanori Suzuki) and steals (more than the next two combined) and did not lead in times caught stealing. An All-Star for the third time and Best Nine for a second time, he also was second with 34 doubles (two behind Tomonori Maeda) and third with five triples.

Ishii kept on rolling in '99 (.292/.382/.393, 39 for 50 in SB). On July 22, he tied the Nippon Pro Baseball record with six runs in a game, the first player in at least 49 years to accomplish that. He led in plate appearances (622) and steals (15 more than runner-up Jong-Beom Lee). His 108 runs trailed Ogata by 3 and Suzuki by 2. He made his third Best Nine.

In 2000, the 29/30-year-old shortstop batted .302/.375/.410 with 35 SB and 11 CS. The All-Star and Best Nine infielder led the CL in stolen bases for a third consecutive season (edging Tomoaki Kanemoto by five) and also had the most singles (131). His five triples tied for second, four behind leader Akinori Iwamura In '01, Takuro produced at a .295/.359/.409 clip, led the league in singles (125) for a fifth time, made his sixth All-Star roster and fifth Best Nine, led in hits (171) and had the most doubles (34).

The 2002 season was another fine one for Ishii, who hit .274/.335/.374, though he dropped under 20 steals for the first time in 8 years as he fell to third in the league. He was caught the most, 11 times in 30 tries. His production slipped to .231/.310/.308 in '03 and he stole 20 of 30 tries.

In 2004, Takuro batted .295/.351/.422 with only 11 SB in 21 tries. He scored 80 runs. His six triples tied Norihiro Akahoshi for second in the CL behind Kosuke Fukudome. The next season, Ishii hit .255/.329/.337 and stole 18 in 25 attempts. He scored 95 runs, sixth in the league.

Ishii had a .288/.357/.368 line in '06, scoring 91 more times (sixth again) and reaching 2,000 career hits.

Overall, through 2006, Ishii had hit .284/.360/.379 and stolen 348 while being caught 162 times. He is 21st all-time in hits (2,135), 15th in runs (1,182), 15th in steals, 26th in walks (838), 16th in sacrifice hits (232), 29th in strikeouts (1,085) and 24th in at-bats (7,506).

In 2007, Ishii hit .275/.322/.322 with only 6 steals in 108 games.

Main source: Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland

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