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Tomio Watanabe

From BR Bullpen

Tomio Watanabe (渡辺 智男)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 176 lb.

BR Register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Tomio Watanabe won a Pacific League ERA title.

Watanabe played for NTT Shikoku in the industrial leagues. He threw 7 1/3 shutout innings for the Japanese national team in the 1988 Baseball World Cup, allowing only three hits; he did not get a decision. He also played in the 1988 Olympics.

The Seibu Lions took Watanabe in the first round of the 1988 NPB draft. He went 10-7 with a 3.52 ERA as a rookie in 1989. He was 7th in the PL in ERA, right behind Nobuyuki Hoshino. The left-hander improved to 13-7, 3.38 in 1990. He tied Takehiro Ishii for fifth in the league in ERA behind Hideo Nomo, Hisanobu Watanabe, Yasumitsu Shibata and Satoru Komiyama. He made his only All-Star team. He won game three of the 1990 Japan Series, throwing a shutout to beat Masumi Kuwata and the Yomiuri Giants. Amazingly, he was not the first Watanabe to shut out Yomiuri that Series as Hisanobu Watanabe had pulled the trick in game one.

In 1991, the Seibu southpaw was 11-6 with a 2.35 ERA, allowing only 117 hits in 157 innings. He led the league in ERA by .13 over Shibata. In the 1991 Japan Series, he started game four but allowed five hits and two runs in two innings to the Hiroshima Carp before leaving in favor of Shinya Oda. Watanabe wound up taking the loss.

Tomio faded to 7-5, 4.87 in 1992 while battling major control issues with 61 walks in 85 innings. He started game four of the 1992 Japan Series and tossed 2 1/3 shutout innings but walked three and allowed two hits before giving way to Yoshitaka Katori; Seibu wound up winning 1-0. Watanabe did not pitch for the Lions in 1993.

Moving to the Daiei Hawks in a trade with Koji Akiyama and Tomoyuki Uchiyama for Makoto Sasaki, Takehiro Hashimoto and Katsuyoshi Murata, Tomio was 4-9 with a 4.23 ERA in 1994 then 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in 1995. He allowed 12 hits and 7 runs in 4 1/3 innings in 1996, going 0-1 and 6 hits, 5 walks and 3 runs in 2 1/3 innings in 1997.

Returning to Seibu to wrap things up in 1998, the veteran did not pitch for the top club before retiring. Overall, he had a 45-40, 3.73 record in 123 games in Nippon Pro Baseball. He had allowed only 660 hits in 3,080 batters faced.

Watanabe later scouted for the Lions.

Primary Source: Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland