Sunday, August 5, 2012

So Taguchi

So Taguchi announced his retirement last week.  He had been unable to find a team willing to pick him up after Orix let him go following last season, so he decided it was time to hang it up.

Taguchi was the first round draft pick of the then Orix Blue Wave in the 1992 draft (which was held in the fall of 1991).  His BBM and Takara rookie cards were from the 1992 sets (#448 for BBM).  His first Calbee card was not until 1995 (#152).

1992 BBM #448
Taguchi remained with the Blue Wave for 10 seasons.  He followed his fellow Orix outfielder Ichiro to the US following the 2001 season.

1999 Calbee #125

2001 BBM #461 (Gold Signature Parallel)
Following nine years in the US with the Cardinals, Phillies and Cubs, Taguchi returned to Japan and Orix for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

2010 Calbee #287

2011 BBM 2nd Version ##543
He made four All Star teams (1995-97 & 2001) and played in two Nippon Series (95 and 96), winning it all over the Giants in 1996.

1995 BBM All Stars #A59

1996 BBM Nippon Series #S23
He also was one of the eight NPB players to appear on the 2000 Japanese Olympic Baseball Team, which was commemorated by a subset in the 2001 Calbee set.

Taguchi was never a great player but for some reason I always liked him.  He'll be someone I miss now that he's retired.


Anonymous said...

I actually thought he did really well in the MLB despite not having the "superstar" talent and hype that a lot of the Japanese position players have when they come over from Japan. It seems like he was a solid player, played to his potential and did get a World Series ring. He did not have the K. Matsui / T. Nishioka situation. He had a good career in the MLB.

Jason said...

So Taguchi was one of the players where I wondered why any MLB teams were clamoring for his services. He was very much and average player in NPB, and despite being popular, wasn't exactly a star-caliber player. That said, he was one of few Japanese position players who came to MLB and put up numbers consistent with those in Japan, unlike Iwamura, Fukudome, Iguchi, Shinjo, Johjima or Kaz Matsui who all saw a significant drop in production.

For that matter, if he hadn't been an Orix mainstay for so many years, I wouldn't understand why they threw so much money at him when they didn't re-sign Tuffy Rhodes. There was no historical precedent for him producing enough to warrant the (relatively) huge paycheck.

drbillellis said...

In Nippon Professional Baseball, So Taguchi got Gold Gloves (mostly for his left field play) 5 times. That is probably why he was an NPB All Star 4 times. He was good at defense, just average at offense.