Takuji Ota

From BR Bullpen


Takuji Ota

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 173 lb.

Takuji Ota was a three-time All-Star in 18 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Ota helped his high school win the 1967 spring Koshien. He was picked in the 8th round in 1968 by the Nishitetsu Lions, going 0 for 2 as a rookie in 1969. He hit .245/.269/.367 in 23 games in 1970 and .250/.268/.304 in 51 games in 1971. He was a semi-regular in 1972, batting .250/.285/.440 with 12 homers in 268 at-bats. He slumped to .227/.275/.336 in 1973 and saw scant action in 1974 (.295/.397/.475 in 73 plate appearances) and 1975 (.276/.337/.539 in 87 plate appearances).

Ota became a starter in 1976 and responded with 23 home runs and a .270/.310/.460 batting line. The 25-year-old made his first Pacific League All-Star team and was picked for his only Best Nine as the top DH in the circuit. He hit .264/.297/.429 in a part-time role in 1977. Takuji produced at a .324/.364/.414 rate in 122 plate appearances in 1978 and .269/.322/.546 rate with 14 homers in 216 at-bats in 1979. He remained steady at .280/.343/.493 in 86 games in 1980.

Ota went yard 24 times in 1981 and hit .277/.331/.539. He was at .279/.341/.476 with 17 dingers in 1982 and made his second All-Star team. The veteran outfielder starred in the 1982 Japan Series, hitting .417/.417/.708 with two homers and six RBI in six games as the Lions (now the Seibu Lions) won their first title. He lost Japan Series MVP honors to pitcher Osamu Higashio.

Ota batted .297/.326/.504 with 20 homers in 1983 and made his third All-Star team. He again dominated in the Japan Series, going 12 for 28 with a homer and six runs in seven games as Seibu beat the Yomiuri Giants. Ota was named Series MVP. After his All-Star play in 1982-1983, Ota struggled big-time (.206/.252/.364 in 42 games) in 1984.

At age 34, Ota rebounded slightly to .240/.288/.416 in 88 games in 1985. His postseason heroics were not evident in the 1985 Japan Series as he went 3 for 17 with a homer as Seibu's DH; they fell to the Hanshin Tigers. Ota ended his career as a bench player in 1986, hitting .235/.258/.412 with 7 homers in 153 at-bats. On August 6, he was one of six Lions to homer in one inning, a NPB record (the others were Yoshihiro Nishioka, Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Hiromichi Ishige, George Vukovich and Koji Akiyama). He went 4 for 16 with a homer in the 1986 Japan Series as one of six Seibu outfielders to get 10+ at-bats. Seibu beat the Hiroshima Carp to give Ota three Japan Series titles.

Overall, Ota had hit .267/.312/.459 in 1,314 games in NPB, with 171 homers in 3,459 at-bats. The free-swinging slugger only had 199 unintentional walks in 3,765 plate appearances.

Ota was manager of the La New Bears when they were founded in 2004 but went just 18-30-2 and was canned in favor of I-Chung Hong. He was hitting coach of the SK Wyverns when they won the 2007 Korean Series then joined the Yakult Swallows as hitting coach.

Sources: Japanbaseballdaily.com, Taiwanese Wiki Baseball