Noriyoshi Omichi (大道 典嘉)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 210 lb.
- High School Akeno High School
Noriyoshi Omichi played 22 years in Nippon Pro Baseball. He has spent much of his career as a platoon player, specializing at hitting left-handed pitchers.
Omichi was a 4th-round draft pick of the Nankai Hawks in 1987. He was 1 for 4 in 1989, then hit .194/.216/.306 in 18 games in 1990. He played 58 games in 1991 and hit .175/.248/.369 with 5 home runs in 103 AB. He had a similar power-only year in 1992, batting .192/.268/.452 with 5 homers and 12 RBI in 73 at-bats. 8 of his 14 hits that year went for extra bases, but he struck out 21 times.
Omichi hit .203/.250/.281 in 153 AB over 78 games in 1993. In the same type of role in 1994, he improved his batting line to .257/.314/.394 - he was focusing less on power by this point and aiming more to be a contact hitter, realizing he could not compete with newcomer Hiroki Kokubo as a power threat.
In 1995, Noriyoshi batted .272/.299/.346 in 32 games. He hit .325/.370/.522 in 90 games in 1996, backing up Scott Lydy and Arihito Muramatsu as a corner outfielder. Omichi would have been second in the Pacific League in average, behind Ichiro Suzuki, had he qualified.
Omichi was a starter for the first time in 1997, hitting .293/.373/.381 for the Hawks (now the Daiei Hawks), joining Muramatsu and Koji Akiyama in the starting outfield. He hit .295/.383/.402 in 1998 while platooning with Muramatsu.
Omichi hit .290/.353/.442 in 73 games in 1999. As a part-time DH in the 1999 Japan Series, he was 2 for 6 with two walks and two doubles as his club won a title. In his 12th season, he produced at a .330/.434/.429 rate in 2000. Had he qualified, he would have finished third in the PL in average behind Ichiro Suzuki and Sherman Obando. He hit .316/.350/.474 in the 2000 Japan Series but Daiei fell to the Yomiuri Giants.
Omichi batted .325/.374/.440 in 302 AB in 2001. Had he qualified, he would have tied Yoshitomo Tani for fifth in the PL in average. He made the All-Star team for the first time. In 2002, the veteran hit .296/.352/.421 in 304 AB and 101 games. Had he qualified, he would have been 9th in the PL in average, between Kazuya Fukuura and Norihiro Nakamura. He was Daiei's primary designated hitter that season.
Omichi hit .281/.317/.379 in 2003, again serving as the club's main DH. He made his second PL All-Star squad. He was 0 for 3 in the 2003 Japan Series, won by Daiei; Julio Zuleta served as their DH in the Series games played under DH rules.
Omichi's playing time fell drastically after that. He hit .297/.361/.378 in 74 AB and 36 games in 2004 and was 7 for 25 with a double, a home run and a walk in 2005. He batted .217/.246/.267 in 44 games in 2006; by now, the Hawks were called the Softbank Hawks, their third name during his tenure. He was the last Hawks player left from when they had been the Nankai Hawks.
After 17 seasons with the Hawks, Omichi moved to the Yomiuri Giants for 2007. The old-timer was 11 for 36 with 3 doubles, a home rand 6 walks as a productive bench player. He hit .274/.324/.484 in 60 games in 2008, with 16 RBI in 62 AB. He was 0 for 1 in the 2008 Japan Series and was hit by a pitch.
In 2009, his 21st season, he was 9 for 35 with two walks and a double, again being used almost entirely as a pinch-hitter. He was the last Nankai Hawks player still active. He was 0 for 5 in 2010 to end his career as a player.
He coached for the 2011 Tampa Yankees.
Source: Japan Baseball Daily