Sunday, November 27, 2016

Takahiro Suzuki

Long time Giants outfielder/pinch runner Takahiro Suzuki retired after this year's Climax Series.  Suzuki was drafted as an infielder out of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture High School in the fourth round of the fall 1996 draft by the Giants.  He didn't make his ichi-gun debut until April of 2002.  He spent most of his career as a late inning defensive replacement and a pinch runner although injuries to Yoshinobu Takahashi (who'd of thunk it?) lead to him getting a bit more playing time in 2008 and 2009.  He appeared in five Nippon Series with the Giants (2002, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013) and won an "Outstanding Player" award for the 2008 Series.  In at least two of those five Series he didn't have any at bats.  He won a Golden Glove as a part time player in 2008 and somewhat controversially made the All Star team in 2015 (he was named to the team by his manager Tatsunori Hara while Swallows first baseman Kazuhiro Hatakeyama who would eventually lead the CL in RBIs that season was left off the team).  He holds the NPB record for most stolen bases by a pinch runner with 132.

His BBM rookie card (which I don't have) is #485 from the 1997 set.  He didn't have another card in a BBM flagship set until the 2002 2nd Version set and actually only had 11 cards in BBM flagship sets over his 20 year career (including the two I've mentioned here).  His first Calbee card was #086 from the 2007 set.  He also appears in some of Konami's and Bandai's sets.

1997 BBM Giants #G69

2002 BBM 2nd Version #499

2002 BBM Nippon Series #S24

2005 BBM Giants #G068

2008 BBM Nippon Series #S61

2009 BBM 2nd Version #658

2010 BBM Giants #G133

2015 Calbee "Exciting Scene" #ES-07

2016 BBM Giants #G69

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