Yasuo Fujii

From BR Bullpen


Yasuo Fujii

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 178 lb.

BR NPB page

Biographical Information[edit]

1B-OF Yasuo Fujii hit 282 home runs in Nippon Pro Baseball. He hit 14 grand slams, second-most in NPB history.

Fujii played for Prince Hotels after high school. He was picked in the 4th round in 1986 by the Hankyu Braves. He hit .281/.360/.406 in 111 plate appearances as a backup in 1987. His first career homer came off Kazuhiro Yamauchi. He batted .286/.358/.527 with 20 homers in 311 AB in 1988. On July 22, he hit the game-winning, game-ending homer in a minor league All-Star game to win MVP honors.

Fujii hit .292/.371/.576 as a regular in 1989, cracking 30 homers and driving home 90 runs. He was named to the Pacific League's Best Nine, joining Ralph Bryant and Koji Akiyama in the outfield. He also made the All-Star team for the only time in his fine career.

In 1990, Fujii batted .285/.381/.587 with 37 home runs and 96 RBI. His 272 total bases led the Pacific League. He finished 5 HR behind league leader Orestes Destrade and was 10 RBI shy of the lead. In 1991, he slumped to .222/.329/.426 with 21 circuit clouts. He only played 20 games in 1992, hitting .269/.315/.343.

Fujii rebounded in 1993, hitting .251/.354/.486 with 28 home runs and 86 RBI. He was named to the Best Nine, joining Akiyama and Makoto Sasaki in the outfield. In 1994, he batted .245/.348/.420 with only 13 home runs. During 1995, he hit .237/.360/.410 with 14 HR. He went 2 for 10 with 3 walks and a double in the 1995 Japan Series.

Fujii hit .274/.366/.526 with 20 homers and 61 RBI in 310 AB in 1996. He rotated between first base and the outfield for the PL champs and was second on the club in home runs behind Troy Neel despite only being 6th in AB. He was only .027 behind Neel for the PL lead in slugging percentage. In the 1996 Japan Series, Yasuo doubled, tripled and walked in 10 plate appearances as the Orix BlueWave (his club had changed names by now) won their only Japan Series title.

Fujii split first base duties with Chris Donnels in 1997 and also split some outfield time with Yoshitomo Tani. He hit 18 home runs and drove home 57 runs in 254 AB. Despite being only 8th on the team in at-bats, he was again second in homers, trailing Neel by 7 (Neel had 118 more AB). Fujii hit .240/.333/.500 that season. In September, he reached 200 career homers (the 68th player in NPB history to that level) and 1,000 hits.

In 1998, Fujii batted .250/.381/.545 with 85 walks, 30 homers and 80 RBI as Orix's top power threat. He was 4th in the PL in slugging behind Phil Clark, Neel and Kiyoshi Hatsushiba and tied Neel for third in OBP (behind Atsushi Kataoka and Ichiro Suzuki). He was second to Kataoka in walks and was 4th in homers, trailing leader Nigel Wilson by 3; he was also 2 behind Norihiro Nakamura and 1 behind Clark.

Fujii faded to .245/.390/.437 in 1999 with 15 homers and 74 walks. He was third in the league in walks behind Nakamura and Ken Suzuki. In 2000, the 37/38-year-old hit .229/.315/.489 with 18 HR and 54 RBI in 280 AB.

Fujii was a bench player in 2001 behind Joe Vitiello. He hit .196/.268/.466 with 15 homers in 189 AB over 88 games. He hit three pinch-hit grand slams that season, a NPB record; he tied the NPB record with 4 career pinch-hit grand slams. On September 30, he hit a 2-out, bottom-of-the-9th, sayonara grand slam off Masahide Kobayashi.

In 2002, Fujii batted .165/.246/.229 in 53 games to wrap up his career at age 40.

Overall, Fujii had hit .252/.357/.488 with 282 HR, 779 walks and 861 RBI in 1,641 games in NPB. His 7 sayonara homers were 7th all-time in NPB and his 14 grand slams are the PL record. He also holds the PL record in no-hitters broken up, 4.

After retiring, Fujii became a hitting coach for Orix.

Source: Japan Baseball Daily by Gary Garland