Thursday, February 13, 2020

Katsuhiro Nagakawa

Long time Carp relief pitcher Katsuhiro Nagakawa announced his retirement back in early September.  Nagakawa is from Miyoshi in Hiroshima prefecture and played on the same youth baseball and basketball teams as his future Carp teammate Eishin Soyogi.  He was signed by the Carp in the "free acquisition frame" of the 2002 draft after he graduated from Asia University.

Nagakawa earned a spot in the bullpen of the ichi-gun Carp in his first training camp in 2003 and became the closer when Yasuhiro Oyamada (who had saved 30 games in 2002) was injured to start the season.  He ended up earning 25 saves that year and made the All Star team.  Injuries and ineffectiveness cost him the closer role over the next two seasons but he got it back in 2006.  2006 started off a four year stretch that saw him save at least 27 games each year - 27 in 2006, 31 in 2007, 38 in 2008 and 36 in 2009.  He again made the All Star team in 2006 and 2009.  He notched career save 139 in 2009 which moved him past Yutaka Ohno for most saves in Carp history, a record he extended to 163 by the end of that season.  Injuries, however, would limit him to only getting three more saves over the next ten seasons. 

He only got into 29 games with the top team in 2010-12 (actually he spent all of 2012 on the farm) and although he bounced back with 107 appearances in 2013-15, his days of being the closer were over.  2016 saw him only get into 11 games and a knee injury forced him to again spend an entire season at ni-gun in 2017.  Although he got into 22 games in 2018 he ended up spending all of 2019 on the farm again - his only appearance with the ichi-gun team was the one batter he faced in his retirement game on September 23rd.  He'll be one of the pitching coaches with the Carp's farm team in 2020.

As usual, his first baseball card was from a BBM Rookie Edition set - in this case it was #36 in the 2003 set.  His other BBM rookie cards include #152 in 1st Version, #563 in 2nd Version and #98 in Touch The Game.  His first Calbee card was #117 in the 2003 set.  Here's some of his cards:

2003 BBM Rookie Edition #36

2003 BBM 1st Version #152

2003 Calbee #117

2006 BBM All Stars #A53

2009 BBM Carp 60th Anniversary #99

2011 BBM Tohto 80th Memorial #53

2014 Front Runner Trading Card Carp Season Summary #09

2015 Epoch Carp Red Helmet 40th Anniversary #08

2019 BBM Carp #C08

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