Koichi Oshima

From BR Bullpen

Koichi Oshima

  • Bats Both, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 147 lb.

Koichi Oshima played for 13 years in Nippon Pro Baseball, winning three Gold Gloves and making two Best Nines at second base. He also was in the Olympics, winning Bronze in 1992.

Oshima began playing baseball as a Little Leaguer in second grade. He became a switch-hitter while at college and became his school's captain as a senior. He made the Best Nine three times while in college. After college, Oshima played for Nihon Seimi in the industrial leagues. Oshima joined the Japanese national team for the 1991 Intercontinental Cup and hit .344/.405/.688 with 8 runs, 8 RBI, 7 extra-base hits and 7 steals in 8 tries in 10 games. He was third in the Cup in steals behind Yaw-Teing Chang and Jose Estrada. Juan Padilla was named the All-Star 2B for the event. In the 1992 Olympics, Koichi hit .310/.459/.448 with 6 runs and 6 RBI in eight games; he was second on Japan in OBP. He was Japan's top hitter in their 8-3 Bronze Medal win over Team USA, going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI as the leadoff hitter.

Oshima was picked in the fifth round of the 1992 draft by the Kintetsu Buffaloes. He debuted with them in 1993, batting .280/.338/.344 in 91 games. He was hit by 8 pitches, leading the Pacific League. In 1994, the little second baseman hit .285/.361/.421. The next year, he slumped badly, managing only a .192/.301/.229 batting line while splitting playing time with Daijiro Oishi.

In November 1995, Kintetsu dealt Oshima and Mitsuhiro Kubo to the Orix BlueWave for Toru Takashima and Kenji Horie. While with Orix, Oshima was often the #2 hitter behind Ichiro Suzuki. He hit .254/.342/.327 in 1996 and won a Gold Glove. More surprisingly, he was chosen to the Best Nine as the best second baseman in the PL despite the presence of Daiei slugger Hiroki Kokubo. He batted .368/.400/.474 in the 1996 Japan Series, leading Orix with 7 hits and posting a better OPS than teammates Ichiro Suzuki, So Taguchi, Troy Neel (the Series MVP) or Doug Jennings.

Oshima produced at a .239/.337/.320 clip in 1997 and won another Gold Glove at second. In 1998, Koichi hit .276/.372/.379 with a career-high 8 home runs; he also stole 10 bases in 11 tries. He also played at least 35 games at shortstop and at third base. He just missed the PL's top five in OBP.

Oshima batted .280/.394/.335 in 1999; had he qualified, he would have finished second in the PL in OBP behind Ichiro Suzuki. In 2000, he hit .283/.418/.340 and led the PL with 35 sacrifice hits. He also drew 90 walks. He won his third Gold Glove, made his only PL All-Star team and was a Best Nine pick for the second time.

Oshima's batting line in 2001 was .263/.377/.316; that year, he played his 1,000th game in NPB. In 2002, Oshima hit .230/.315/.270 in an off-season. He batted .285/.374/.344 in 2003 and became the 215th NPB player to collect 1,000 career hits. The veteran batted .263/.362/.362 in 2004 while moving into a backup role.

When Orix merged with Kintetsu after 2004, Oshima joined the expansion Rakuten Golden Eagles and hit .222/.347/.346 in 58 games before retiring.

Oshima hit .261/.360/.332 in 1,375 games in NPB. He stole 71 bases in 98 tries and drew 602 walks.

Sources: Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland, Defunct IBAF site