Yoshihiro Aiba

From BR Bullpen

Yoshihiro Aiba

BR NPB page

Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Yoshihiro Aiba played in Nippon Professional Baseball from 1962 to 1975. He played for the Yomiuri Giants (1962-1972), Nankai Hawks (1973-1974) and Hanshin Tigers (1975). Used primarily in a reserve role and a platoon and bench specialist against left-handed pitchers, he had over 100 at-bats only three times.

Aiba was 4 for 24 with a walk and a triple as a rookie in 1962 and 1 for 5 with a walk in 1963. He hit .214/.236/.286 in 72 plate appearances over 34 games in 1964. He topped 100 at-bats for the first time in 1965, when he hit .271/.324/.426 in 129 at-bats (73 games). He was 1 for 9 with a walk in the 1965 Japan Series when Yomiuri beat the Nankai Hawks in five games as the Giants won the first of nine Japan Series.

The Aichi native struggled (.167/.195/.226 in 88 PA, 46 G) in 1966 and hit .246/.307/.341 in 138 plate appearances and 80 games in 1967. He was 0 for 1 with a run in the 1967 Japan Series. He saw scant action in 1968 (2 for 9, HR). In 1969, he hit .194/.275/.258 in 70 plate appearances over 53 games. In his lone at-bat in the 1969 Japan Series, he batted for Kunio Jonouchi in game 4 and singled off Kiyoshi Oishi; Yomiuri beat the Hankyu Braves in six. It was the last of Yomiuri's run of Japan Series in which Aiba got into a game.

During 1970, Aiba hit .219/.275/.344 in 70 plate appearances over 50 games. He followed with a .205/.286/.249 campaign in 49 plate appearances (49 games) in 1971 then was 1 for 11 with a double in 1972.

In 1973, he had his most regular action when he hit .297/.336/.368 with 18 walks and only 11 strikeouts in 223 at-bats (87 games) in his first season with Nankai. Facing his old club in the 1973 Japan Series, he was 1 for 3, as Hiromitsu Kadota, Ikuo Shimano and Yoshinori Hirose were the starting outfielders for Nankai as they fell to Yomiuri in Yomiuri's ninth straight title; former major leaguer Willie Smith joined Aiba in failing to make the outfield. He hit .247/.340/.457 in 94 plate appearances over 48 games in 1974.

Aiba was then traded with Masanori Murakami to Hanshin for Toru Wada and Toshio Nogami. He was 5 for 32 with a double and three walks for the 1975 Tigers to end his playing career. He was a minor league coach for Hanshin from 1976 to 1982 and a major league coach for them in 1983-1984. He was hitting coach for the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1985-1986 but died two years later due to pancreatic cancer.

Overall, he batted .235/.292/.339 in 964 at-bats over 600 games, with 85 runs, 87 RBI and 18 homers.