Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Yasuhiko Yabuta

There's one last player who retired at the end of the season that I wanted to do a post about and that player is Yasuhiko Yabuta of the Chiba Lotte Marines.

I did a post for Yabuta back in 2007 when he signed with the Royals so I won't be showing too many cards here.

He was a second round draft pick of the Marines in the 1996 draft.  His rookie card was #501 from the 1996 BBM set.  He also has a card in the Takara Marines set from 1996.  His first Calbee card was not until 2006 (#006).

Yabuta spent much of the first eight years of his career as a starter (when he wasn't injured or in the minors).  He switch to the bullpen pretty much full time in 2004 and had a lot more success that way.  He appears to have mostly pitched in middle relief before he left for the US for the 2008 season.  After two seasons with the Royals, he returned to the Marines.  He was back in middle relief in 2010 but became Lotte's closer in 2011 and 2012.  I'm not entirely sure what happened to him this year but he didn't make any appearances at the ichi-gun level.  I suspect that he was injured all year.

2000 BBM #554

2007 Calbee #247

2013 BBM 1st Version #279

Yabuta made two All Star teams (in 2005 and 2007) and played in two Nippon Series (2005 & 2010).  He only lead the league in a category that BBM cares about once, in 2007 (Hold Points).

2008 BBM 1st Version #458

2010 BBM Nippon Series #S12


Mischa Gelman said...

One other player who retired in 2013 (though not at year's end): Takahiro Saeki finally called it quits after not finding a home in 2012 or early this year.

NPB Card Guy said...

Hmm, have to think about doing one for him. I'm kind of haphazard about who I pick to do a retirement tribute for. I try to hit the big names - this year I think I've done a few more of the run-of-the-mill players than usual.

Steve Novosel said...

Yup, he was injured all this year.

It's a shame he moved to the closer position to tell you the truth - he was STILL a very good set-up guy before he got shuttled off to be closer, but he was never a very good closer.

More effectiveness as a set-up guy might have led to less strain on his arm and he might still be playing. Who knows. He was the oldest player on the team this year, though.

I was at his and Ono's retirement game this year in the field wing seats (put some pictures on the blog). When Yabuta walked by I yelled "Yabuta-san! Otsukare-sama deshita!" He looked at me, gave a small smile and said "Thank you."