What the school doesn't have many of in their alumni is professional baseball players. Despite being part of the Tokyo Big Six intercollegiate baseball league since its inception in 1925, there have only been six Todai players to ever sign a professional contract. The most recent player was Kohei Miyadai, who was drafted by the Fighters in the seventh round this fall's NPB draft. I thought it'd be interesting to write about the previous five players, especially since Deanna Rubin left a comment on my post about the draft to give me a bunch of information on them. I was lucky in that the 2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 set had cards for all five players although I had other cards for four of them.
The first ever professional player from Todai was Shinji Niihara. Niihara actually went to work for the Taiyo corporation as a salaryman after graduating in 1965 but he managed to convince the owner to let him play baseball for the Whales which Taiyo owned at the time. He was able to do this as this was the last year before NPB implemented a draft. He got into 88 games mostly out of the bullpen in four seasons between 1965 and 1968 - the bulk of which were in 1965 (40 games) and 1966 (37). He went 9-6 with a 3.28 ERA. After he retired from baseball he continued to work for Taiyo and later was an advisor to the Baystars. He passed away in 2004. As far as I know his 2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 is his only card ever.
|2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 #077|
|2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 #078|
|1977 NST #31|
|2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 #080|
|1993 Tomy #253|
|2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 #081|
|2000 BBM #372|
|2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 #099|
|2005 BBM Rookie Edition #80|
|2005 BBM 1st Version #486|
|2010 BBM 2nd Version #749|
|2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 #076|
|2011 BBM Legend Of Tokyo Big 6 #079|