Sunday, October 11, 2009

Koichi Ogata

Koichi Ogata of the Carp played his last game yesterday. Ogata has spent part of the last 22 seasons playing for the ichi-gun Carp. He won five Gold Gloves and made one appearance in an All Star game. Here's a couple cards:

1991 BBM Nippon Series #S49 (the only time the Carp made the Series during his career):

2003 BBM 2nd Version #585:

2003 BBM Rookie Edition #115, showing him as he looked when drafted by the Carp back in the fall of 1986:

I'd have scanned some more cards, but it seems to me that a lot of the cards I have of him all have similar poses - following through after hitting the ball (like the Rookie Edition card above).

On a personal note, I just discovered something interesting from his Baseball Reference Bullpen biography - I've actually seen Ogata play. It turns out that in 1989 the Carp had some sort of working agreement with the independent Peninsula Pilots of the Carolina League (who are now the Wilmington Blue Rocks). The Carp sent three players to play for the woeful Pilots - Waturu Adachi, Tetsuya Katahira and Koichi Ogata. I had remembered seeing the Pilots play the Frederick Keys that summer and I dug up my scorecard - sure enough Ogata was batting second and playing second base (and wearing number 1 rather than his more familiar 9 or the 37 he wore early in his career). He went 0-2 with a walk. I also saw Katahira - he played left field and went 1-4 with an RBI. Nothing stands out in my mind about either of them - the only things I remembered about the game before I dug up the scorecard was it was a blowout (Frederick won 20-4) and that the Pilots had a position player come in to pitch (which was the first time I had ever seen that in person).

Of the three former Peninsula Pilots, Ogata by far had the longest career. Katahira played two more years with the Carp, mostly with the ni-gun team. Adachi played a few years longer, finishing his career with the Hawks in 1994. Here's Katahira's 1991 BBM card (#99, his only BBM card as far as I know) and Adachi's 1993 Tomy card (#165):

Oh, and I did check - none of these guys made the Pilot's baseball card set that year. Rats.

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