Shigenobu Shima

From BR Bullpen

ShigenobuShima.jpg

Shigenobu Shima (嶋重宣) (Red Godzilla)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 209 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

Shigenobu Shima won a batting title in the Central League.

Shima's mother, Hiroko Shibuya, was in the 1972 Winter Olympics in the luge. Shima hit 28 homers in high school and once struck out 18 in a 16-inning, 1-0 win. He was picked in the second round in 1994 as a pitcher by the Hiroshima Carp. He made his debut with the big club in 1997, allowing 5 hits, 5 walks and 3 runs in 2 1/3 IP and taking a loss. He was 1 for 1 with a run at the plate, a single off Balvino Galvez. Due to elbow problems, he was moved from the mound to first base. He was one of four first basemen to get a look from Hiroshima in 1999 (the others were Takahiro Arai, Itsuki Asai and Koijiro Machida) and hit well (.280/.320/.432) in 47 games. His first homer in NPB came as a pinch-hitter against Yukiya Yokoyama on August 3. The Carp picked up Luis Lopez in the off-season and made him the starter for 2000, going 13 for 52 with 4 doubles and 2 walks.

Shima spent most of the next three years in the minors, with Lopez starting for two years and Arai becoming the starter in 2003. In this span, Shima was 4 for 19 in his few looks with the Carp. He won a Western League batting title in 2002.

Shima switched positions again, becoming an outfielder. He got his first full-time role in 2004 and responded phenomenally, hitting .337/.389/.560 with 32 home runs, 94 runs and 84 RBI. He set a Hiroshima franchise record with 189 hits. He led the Central League in average (9 points ahead of Greg LaRocca), hits (11 ahead of Takayuki Shimizu) and total bases (314, 3 ahead of Akinori Iwamura). He also ranked among the league leaders in runs (5th, between Tuffy Rhodes and Masahiro Araki), plate appearances (615, 6th), at-bats (7th), home runs (9th, between Shinnosuke Abe and Alex Ramirez), strikeouts (9th, 104) and OBP (6th, between Abe and Yoshinobu Takahashi). He missed the top 10 in slugging by 9 points. No player had won a Nippon Pro Baseball batting title with as few hits the year before (1) as Shima had. He also set a NPB record with 60 multi-hit games; the mark only stood for a year before Norichika Aoki topped it. He made the CL All-Star team. He joined Rhodes and Tomoaki Kanemoto as the CL Best Nine outfield picks. Shima was nicknamed "Red Godzilla", a reference to both the other Godzilla, Hideki Matsui, and the color of the Carp's uniforms.

Remaining in right field for the Carp in 2005, the Sapporo native produced at a .288/.350/.473 clip with 27 dingers. He tied Rhodes and Ryoji Aikawa for third in the league with 7 sacrifice flies and was 10th with 265 total bases. He was one homer shy of the top 10, as #10 Kosuke Fukudome drilled 28. Shima's numbers fell further in 2006 to .269/.308/.438 with 24 home runs. His walk total fell from 53 to 27 and his doubles from 23 to 12. He did not make the league leaders in any area. By 2007, he was hitting only .228/.293/.439 with 14 home runs. One bright spot was his 100th career home run, off Yuji Yoshimi. Battling injury in 2008, he rebounded to .309/.394/.439, but he struggled after his return from off-season surgery, batting just .229/.293/.314 in 2009.

Shima's roller-coaster career continued in 2010 with a respectable .262/.321/.446 season. In a part-time role in 2011, he hit .256/.333/.392.

Source: japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland