Sunday, October 2, 2011

"Tom" Uchiyama

I was going through so of my old minor league team sets the other day and I came across this card of "Tom" Uchiyama in the 1998 Multi-Ad Reading Phillies team set (#26):

Other than that I was willing to be that his name wasn't "Tom", I didn't know anything about him.  But a little quick looking around on the web filled in the details - his name is Tomoyuki Uchiyama and he played for Seibu and Daiei from 1992 until 1997 (the back of the Reading card lists his 1997 team as "Fukuoka Daiei") before signing with the Phillies organization for 1998.

Oddly enough, his card and Baseball-Reference list his birthplace as Kawasaki, but he was actually born in Gifu prefecture (JapanBaseballDaily says Minokamo, Wikipedia Japan says Kani).  I don't know much about Japanese geography, but I don't think those places are that close together (Kawasaki and Kani that is - I think Minokamo and Kani are actually right next to each other).

Here's Uchiyama's final BBM card from the 1997 set (#239):

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the highlight of his career was pitching in the 1993 Nippon Series for the Lions in a losing effort against the Swallows.  Here's his 1993 BBM Nippon Series set card (S39):

I'm not positive on this one, but I'd guess that another highlight of his career was being one of the players traded with Koji Akiyama (who played in the US for San Jose in 1982) to the Hawks following the 1993 season in a deal that involved Makoto Sasaki (who played in the US for the Sonoma County Crushers in 2001).

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