Tsutomu Ishimoto (石本努)
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 162 lb.
- High School Beppudai Fuzoku High School
Tsutomu Ishimoto was an outfielder in Nippon Pro Baseball who was noted primarily for speed.
Ishimoto stole 131 bases in high school, hitting .469 there. He ran the 100-meter dash in 10.7 seconds. The Nippon Ham Fighters took him in the second round of the 1990 draft. He spent several seasons in the minors. He made it to the big club in 1995, as a defensive sub for Tatsuya Ide in his debut. He was 0 for 1 with a stolen base that year. In 1996, he got his first hit (off Yasuo Kubo) and his first homer (against Keiji Kimura). He hit .281/.313/.422 with 7 steals in 10 tries over 24 games. He then did not play for the Fighters the next year then played two games and did not bat in 1998 (he was caught stealing once).
In 1999, he got regular action, hitting .304/.357/.385 with 5 triples and 13 steals (in 22 tries) in 85 games. Had he qualified, he would have been 4th in the Pacific League in average (behind Ichiro Suzuki, Kazuo Matsui and Kenji Johjima). He tied Kenji Morozumi and Tadaharu Sakai for second in triples (half of leader Makoto Kosaka's total), tied for 7th in steals (with Arihito Muramatsu, Susumu Otomo and Taisei Takagi) and tied Naoyuki Omura for third in times caught stealing. Ishimoto's playing time fell in 2000 as did his production (.224/.281/.272 in 167 PA, 69 G).
The Nagasaki native hit .246/.306/.279 and went 9-for-12 in steals in 143 plate appearances and 51 games in 2001. In 2002, he batted .240/.283/.360 and stole 10 bases in 13 tries over 35 games. He split center field with Ide in 2003, getting a career-high 308 at-bats. He batted .247/.320/.292 and stole 20 bases while being caught six times. He was 6th in the PL in swipes. With the addition of Tsuyoshi Shinjo, Ishimoto's playing time fell, though he still got into 90 games in 2004, hitting .289/.342/.333 and stealing 10 bases in 13 tries. He slumped to .214/.257/.286 in 76 plate appearances in 2005 and retired.
Ishimoto had produced at a .262/.318/.325 clip in 1,448 plate appearances over 512 games in NPB, with 16 triples and 93 steals in 126 tries. He had 184 runs and 73 RBI.
He later scouted for the Fighters.