Tatsuo Okitsu

From BR Bullpen

Tatsuo Okitsu

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 182 lb.

Tatsuo Okitsu was a Nippon Pro Baseball infielder for 13 years and made three Central League All-Star teams, two at third base and one at first base. He was dubbed the "Tokyo Metropolitan University League Nagashima" in college and began his professional career with the Hiroshima Carp in 1959, hitting .220/.283/.326 in 96 games. The next year, Okitsu improved to .268/.329/.486 and set career highs with 25 doubles and 21 homers, making the CL All-Star team at first. His 108 strikeouts led the circuit. In 1961, Tatsuo hit .217/.292/.407 while falling into a part-time role. Back as a regular in '62, he produced at a .261/.308/.399 rate. In 1963, he turned 27 and hit .303/.359/.467 with 19 homers, a career-high 93 RBI and the top average of his career. He was fifth in the CL in average and possibly higher in RBI. He made his second All-Star appearance that year and led the loop in sacrifice flies (10) and at-bats (531).

Okitsu was an All-Star for the third and final time as Hiroshima's third baseman in 1964. He batted .269/.340/.422 with 17 homers that year. In '65, Tatsuo had a .274/.339/.409 batting line and tied Sadaharu Oh for the most times hit by pitch (6) in the Central. Junro Anan split time at third with Okitsu in 1966 and Okitsu hit .215/.319/.359 in his last year with more than 225 AB.

In '67, Tatsuo was primarily a sub and batted .243/.300/.369. The next year, he hit .269/.329/.537 with 12 HR in 149 AB, but the third base job was taken over by Sachio Kinugasa, who would hold on to it for the next two decades with only a couple games off. Kinugasa roomed with Okitsu for a time. In 1969, Okitsu had a .233/.278/.474 line with 15 long balls in 215 AB, continuing to show power in a part-time role. At age 33/34, he would hit .242/.289/.359 in 1970. He wrapped up his career the next year with a .211/.237/.281 line in 41 games and 57 AB. Overall, he had hit .258/.320/.419 with 145 HR in 1,227 games despite chronic back problems.

After retiring, he ran a waterworks construction company.

Source: Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland