Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shinjiro Hiyama

The Hanshin Tigers' 2013 season ended today at the hands of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and so the playing career of Shinjiro Hiyama also ended today.  Hiyama went out with a bang, hitting a pinch hit, 2 run home run in the bottom of the ninth but it was too little too late for the Tigers.  The Tigers had held their retirement ceremony for Hiyama last weekend following the last regular season game at Koshien this year.

Hiyama was drafted by Hanshin in the fourth round of the 1992 draft (held in the fall of 1991) out of Toyo University.  His rookie card is from the 1993 BBM set (#160) and he appeared in that year's Takara Tigers set as well.  He did not have a Calbee card until 1996 (#60).

2011 Tohto 80th Memorial #61

1993 BBM #160

Looking at his career numbers, it looks like Hiyama became a regular for the Tigers in 1995 and pretty much stayed that way until 2005 (with the possible exceptions of 1999 and 2000).  He put up steady numbers during this time.  He never lead the league in anything but he did make the All Star team three times - 1997, 2002 and 2003.

1997 BBM All Stars #A61

The Tigers made it to the Nippon Series twice (2003 & 2005) during Hiyama's time with them and he played in both of them, winning an "Outstanding Player" award in the 2003 Series.

2003 BBM Nippon Series #58

I suspect there's something I'm missing about Hiyama.  I mean no disrespect to him but he seems to be more popular than his statistical record would warrant, popular enough that someone did a box set for him two years ago.  I'm just not entirely sure why.  But he did stay with the Tigers for 24 seasons so that probably counts for something.

1994 Takara Tigers

2000 Upper Deck #96

2004 BBM Tigers #T91

2012 BBM 1st Version #265

No comments: