Taisuke Watanabe (渡辺 泰輔)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 167 lb.
Taisuke Watanabe had over 100 decisions in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Watanabe was 29-10 in college. He made history on May 17, 1964, when he threw the first perfect game in the history of the Tokyo Big Six University League (against Rikkyo University). It would be 36 years until another pitcher matched him (Satoshi Kamishige, who never pitched professionally).
Watanabe spent his pro career with the Nankai Hawks. As a rookie in 1965, he was 4-4 with a 2.72 ERA and .225 opponent average. He led the Pacific League with four wild pitches. He had his best campaign in 1966 at 16-7, 2.12 with a .99 WHIP and 8 shutouts. He finished third in the PL in ERA behind Kazuhisa Inao and Masaaki Koyama and led in shutouts, one ahead of Koyama. He was 1-2 with a 2.90 ERA in the 1966 Japan Series, working 21 2/3 IP; Masanori Murakami was second on the team with 9 1/3 innings. He was also 2 for 5 at the plate. He lost game one, won a complete game 2 over the Yomiuri Giants (in the midst of a run of nine straight Japan Series titles with Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima), dropped game four and had a no-decision in game six. He won the Fighting Spirit Award as the MVP of the losing team in a Japan Series. It would be Watanabe's lone Japan Series appearance.
He fell to 15-18, 3.22 in 1967 but made his only PL All-Star team. He tied for 6th in the league in wins and tied Katsuji Sakai for the most losses. In 1968, he saw limited action (2-2, 5.49). He was 9-17 with a 3.54 ERA in 1969, again leading the PL in defeats. He did not see as much playing time again. His records were 3-3, 4.16 (in 1970), 1-6, 6.75 (with a .313 opponent average in 1971) and 4-1, 3.82 in 1972.
Overall, he had gone 54-59 with a 3.35 ERA in 221 games pitched in NPB. Offensively, he had hit .127/.150/.154 with a homer.