Ken Takahashi

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Ken Takahashi

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Biographical Information[edit]

Left-hander Ken Takahashi pitched for the Hiroshima Carp for 14 years and made his MLB debut with the New York Mets in 2009.

Moved from the outfield to pitching in high school, Takahashi played for Toyota Motors in the industrial leagues after college. The Hiroshima Carp took him in the 4th round in the 1994 draft.

Takahashi went 4-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 39 games as a rookie in 1995. In 1996, Ken was 2-1 with a save and a 4.96 ERA in 24 games. That year, he also threw a no-hitter in ni-gun. Takahashi's pitching record was 3-4, 4.79 in 34 games in 1997. Ken went 3-8 with a 3.83 ERA in 41 games in 1998. Pitching 36 games in 1999, Takahashi was 3-7 and led the Central League in wild pitches (9).

Takahashi made 50 appearances for Hiroshima in 2000, going 5-9 with 4 saves and allowing 89 hits (but 57 walks) in 112 1/3 IP. He had a 3.93 ERA that season and made his first Central League All-Star team. Ken moved into the rotation full-time in 2001 and went 10-8 with a 4.27 ERA. He again was an All-Star. He allowed 89 runs and 82 earned runs, both totals being the highest in the CL that year.

In 2002, the veteran left-hander fell to 9-14 but improved his ERA to 3.84. He led the CL in runs allowed (92) and losses. Takahashi went 9-8 with a 3.66 ERA in 2003 and walked only 36 in 167 innings. He made his 3rd and final CL All-Star squad.

Takahashi went only 3-10 with a 5.53 ERA in 2004, allowing 122 hits (24 home runs) in 96 innings. The 36-year-old was moved back to the bullpen and pitched just 14 games, going 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA. In 26 2/3 innings, he surrendered 43 hits, 7 of them homers. In 54 games (46 IP), primarily as a LOOGY), he went 2-3 with a 4.70 ERA.

Takahashi returned to the rotation in 2007 and went 5-4 with a 3.70 ERA. In 2008, the old-timer was 8-5 with a 3.50 ERA.

After 14 seasons with Hiroshima, Takahashi became a free agent and expressed an interest in playing in Major League Baseball. He signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. He sprained his right calf fielding a bunt in his first spring training appearance and was released four weeks later. The New York Mets signed him.

Takahashi made his US debut on April 9 for the Buffalo Bisons against the Pawtucket Red Sox, allowing two walks, two hits and one run in 1 2/3 IP. After six games with Pawtucket, he had allowed only one earned run in 11 2/3 IP. On April 26, 2009 the Mets called him up to take the spot of Casey Fossum in the bullpen. Takahashi would become the oldest Japanese player to debut in the majors. He did not debut in The Show until May 2, when he worked 2 2/3 shutout innings in relief against the Phillies, allowing one hit and one walk while fanning one.

He returned to the Carp in 2010, retiring following the season.

Primary Source: Japan Baseball Daily

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