From BR Bullpen
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 176 lb.
Second baseman Toshihisa Nishi hit .325 with 11 HR in 280 AB in college. In 1992, he was MVP of Haarlem Baseball Week. He also played in the industrial leagues for Nihon Seimei. In the 1993 Intercontinental Cup, Nishi batted .317/.391/.610 with 12 runs and 5 steals in 11 games while playing error-free ball. He was named the All-Star second baseman. He tied teammate Tatsuya Ide for the tourney lead in stolen bases. He provided most of Japan's offense in their semifinal upset loss to Team USA, homering and driving in 2 in a 6-3 defeat at the hands of John Powell, Todd Walker, Todd Helton and company. In the Bronze Medal game, he was 2 for 5 with a double and a run as Japan romped past Nicaragua, 9-0.
During the 1994 Baseball World Cup, Nishi hit .350/.447/.650 with 8 runs, 3 homers, 3 steals and 12 RBI in 10 games. In the 1995 Asian Championship, he led in homers to help Japan win Gold and a spot in the 1996 Olympics. He made the tournament All-Star team at third base. He was picked in the second round of the 1995 NPB draft by the Yomiuri Giants. Nishi hit .270/.333/.370 with 17 steals in 22 tries in 1996, primarily playing third base and hitting leadoff. He won rookie of the year honors in the Central League. In the 1996 Japan Series, he hit .250/.318/.600 and homered twice but it was not enough to help Yomiuri beat the Orix BlueWave.
In 1997, Nishi slipped to .242/.301/.360 while moving to second base but he recovered in 1998 with a .274/.345/.392 line. He again stole 17 but was caught 10 times; he tied Koichi Ogata for third in the Central League in steals. He also made his first CL All-Star team. The next season, Toshihisa batted .298/.347/.422 and stole 18 out of 26. On June 25, he hit a cycle and he won his first Gold Glove that year. Bobby Rose maintained his hold on the Best Nine at second base.
The 2000 season left Nishi with a .298/.348/.463 year, arguably his best. He hit 20 homers, scored 81 and won a Gold Glove but was gunned down in 19 of 30 steal tries, leading the league in times caught. He made his second All-Star team. He had a fine postseason once more, batting .360/.429/.480 in the 2000 Japan Series and made a superb defensive play in game three, retiring a runner with a throw home to help the Giants come from behind 2 games to 0 to beat the Daiei Hawks.
At age 29, the Yomiuri infielder batted .273/.318/.425 with 20 steals in 23 tries in 2001. He hit 20 homers for the second straight year, scored 88 and won another Gold Glove. He set a Central League record with 652 plate appearances. With Rose gone, Eddy Diaz claimed Best Nine honors at second but Nishi did make his third and last All-Star roster. In 2002, Nishi slipped to .244/.285/.371 but his steal rate kept improving. In a dramatic turnaround from 2000, he went 22 for 22 in swipes. Only Norihiro Akahoshi, with 26, stole more than Nishi in that year's CL campaign. He also won his fourth consecutive (and last) Gold Glove at second base. Toshihisa was plagued that year by injuries, including an ankle sprain, an injury when he was plunked by a pitch and two oblique muscle pulls. He hit .200/.200/.333 in the 2002 Japan Series.
The 2003 season yielded results of a .246/.291/.356 line and in 2004 he had a brief resurgence to the spotlight with an impressive .289/.328/.475 season with 28 homers and 106 runs; he even drove in 60 despite hitting leadoff all year. He only stole 3 in 13 tries but he led the CL in runs scored, seven more than runner-up Akinori Iwamura. He was only sixth on a homer-happy Giants club in circuit clouts; Yomiuri set a new Nippon Pro Baseball record for long balls. Nishi failed to make the Best Nine, having never done so yet, as Greg LaRocca and Masahiro Araki split the honor.
Nishi became a free agent after the season and sought to go to Major League Baseball. Several teams were rumored to be interested in his services but he got no offers and returned to Yomiuri, where he fell to .269/.307/.364. His career stats through 2005 were .274/.323/.407 with 130 steals in 200 tries.
With Nishi's production declining somewhat, Yomiuri brought in competition that off-season by acquiring Makoto Kosaka. Both had abysmal seasons and the Giants kept trying other options to no avail. Nishi hit .185/.265/.268 in 60 games in 2006 and was traded after the year to the Yokohama BayStars for backup catcher Masakuni Odajima and cash.
Nishi found new life in 2007, batting .270/.312/.379 in his first season with Yokohama. He hit .265/.297/.395 with 27 doubles for the 2008 BayStars. He tied Hiroyasu Tanaka for third in the CL with 34 sacrifice hits. The 37-year-old collapsed in 2009 with just a .159/.234/.182 line in 59 games.
Nishi signed with the Lancaster Barnstormers for 2010 but hit only .208 with one homer and 3 RBI in 31 games then retired.
Main Source: Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland