Shinsaku Katahira

From BR Bullpen


Shinsaku Katahira (片平 晋作)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 171 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Shinsaku Katahira played in Nippon Pro Baseball for 18 years.

Katahira was drafted by the Nankai Hawks in the fourth round of the 1971 NPB draft, but he spent his rookie year in the NPB Farm Leagues, only getting one at-bat with the big club. Katahira hit .269/.321/.391 in 61 games in 1973, then improved and recorded a .265/.342/.425 batting line with 9 homers in 1974. However, he slumped to .074/.171/.074 in 1975, and he only played 39 games with the big club.

The Osaka native decided to mimic legend Sadaharu Oh's "flamingo stance" in 1976, and he took the starting first baseman spot with a .246/.298/.396 batting line with 12 homers. However, he suffered from Graves' disease in 1977, so he only played 44 games. When Junichi Kashiwabara jumped to the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1978, Katahira took back the starting spot and he hit .245/.293/.421 with 15 homers. He had his career year in 1979, hitting .329/.381/.500 with 16 homers, ranking 5th in the Pacific League in batting (.035 behind Hideji Kato) and 8th in hits (17 behind Kato).

Katahira was selected into the 1980 NPB All-Star Game. He pinch-hit for Takashi Imoto and collected a single against Shigeru Kobayashi in Game 1, then went 2-for-3 as the starting first baseman with a RBI single against Takashi Nishimoto in Game 2; he was 0-for-2 in Game 3. He ended up hitting .266/.328/.479 with a career-high 21 homers in 1980, but slumped to .272/.308/.403 with 8 homers in 1981. The Hawks then traded him with Masahiro Kuroda to the Seibu Lions for Ritsuo Yamashita and Yoshinori Yamamura.

After being traded, Katahira bounced back in 1982 and hit .277/.354/.447 with 12 homers. He was 3-for-5 with a clutch game-winning solo shot off Takamasa Suzuki of the Chunichi Dragons in the 7th inning in Game 6 of the 1982 Japan Series, and won his first Nippon Series title. Katahira extended his solid performance, hitting .278/.353/.470 with 19 homers in 1983, and won his first NPB Gold Glove Award as a first baseman. He was 1-for-4 in the 1983 Nippon Series (backing up Koichi Tabuchi; Tabuchi had been a DH in the regular season but the Series had no DH so Tabuchi took Katahira's spot), and won another title as the Lions beat the Yomiuri Giants in 7 games. He was still a solid infielder in the next seasons, hitting .268/.323/.459 in 1984 and recording a .306/.347/.431 batting line with 10 homers in 1985. He still batted .292/.332/.522 with 17 homers in 1986, but the Lions needed to make a space for prospect Kazuhiro Kiyohara, so they traded Katahira with Tamotsu Nagai to Yokohama Taiyo Whales for Shintaro Hirose.

The veteran had a .298/.371/.498 batting line with 13 homers in 1987, but he only played 61 games in 1988 when Jim Paciorek joined the team. Katahira still couldn't get many chances as he played 39 games in 1989, and he announced his retirement and became a coach. He was the batting coach for the Lions from 1990 to 1993, worked for their minor league team in 1994 and served as ni-gun manager from 1995 to 1997. He also worked as a TV commentator and managed in the Japan Women's Baseball League.

Overall, Katahira had hit .274/.332/.442 with 1,181 hits, 176 home runs, 601 RBI and 492 runs score in 18 seasons in NPB.

Further Reading[edit]