Thursday, May 5, 2016

Takahiro Arai

I'm late getting around to this but Takahiro Arai of the Carp got his 2000th hit last week.  Arai was born and raised in Hiroshima but went to college at Komazawa University in Tokyo.  He was drafted by his hometown team the Carp in the sixth round of the fall 1998 draft.  He left the Carp following the 2007 season as a free agent and signed with the Hanshin Tigers.  He returned to the Carp as a free agent again before the 2015 season.

Arai made the All Star team four times - three times with the Carp (2002, 05 and 07) and once with the Tigers (2008).  He's been named to a Best 9 team once (2005) and won one Golden Glove (2008).  He lead the Central League in home runs in 2005 and RBI in 2011.  He played for the Japan National Team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Olympics.  He has never played in a Nippon Series - he was on the roster for the Tigers for the 2014 Series but a back injury kept him from playing.

His brother Ryota has played for the Dragons and Tigers - the two were teammates with Hanshin from 2011-14.

Here's a sampling of cards from his career (his rookie card is 1999 BBM #374 but I don't have it):

2000 BBM #474

2002 Calbee #SH-8

2006 BBM 1st Version #440

2006 Upper Deck Future Watch #WBC-52

2008 BBM 1st Version #095

2008 BBM All Stars #A18

2011 BBM Tohto 80th Memorial #47

2012 BBM 1st Version #334

2015 Epoch Red Helmets 40th Anniversary #21

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