Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dual Champions

Jason asked an interesting question in a comment to this post the other day: what players have won championships in both MLB and NPB? We came up with a couple names off the top of our heads, but I spent some time with both Baseball-Reference and Japan Baseball Daily and I think I've come up with the complete list.

First, here's my criteria: the player had to actual appear in the World Series or Nippon Series to actually count. It's not good enough to simply play for the team during the season they won the championship, or even appear on the post season roster, but not appear in a game.

So here's the list:

PlayerMLB ChampNPB Champ
Dan Gladden87, 91 Twins94 Giants
Tadahito Iguchi05 White Sox03 Hawks
Jim Lefebvre65 Dodgers74 Orions
Johnny Logan57 Braves64 Hawks
Hideki Matsui09 Yankees94, 00, 02 Giants
Daisuke Matsuzaka07 Red Sox04 Lions
Hideki Okajima07 Red Sox00, 02 Giants, 06 Fighters
So Taguchi06 Cardinals96 Blue Wave
Gary Thomasson78 Yankees81 Giants
Roy White77, 78 Yankees81 Giants

Iguchi may shortly have a second NBP champion to add to his list. Taguchi was on the Phillies World Series roster in 2008, but did not play.

The players eliminated because they played for a team that won a championship but didn't play in the World Series were Adrian Garrett (14 games for the 1972 A's won championship with 1979 Carp), Doug Jennings (4 games for 1989 A's, NPB champ with 1996 Blue Wave) and Domingo Martinez (15 games between 1992 & 1993 for Blue Jays, NPB Champ with 2000 Giants).

The one guy I'm on the fence on including is George Vukovich, who was on the Phillies 1980 World Series roster but did not play. He won NPB championships with the Lions in 1986 and 1987.

That's Dan Gladden's card from the 1994 BBM Nippon Series set (#S26) at the top of the post and George Vukovich's card from the 1987 Play Ball set (#34) at the bottom.


Deanna said...

The argument I can think of for Vukovich is that he at least actually played in the Phillies postseason games in 1980? I mean... let's put it this way, I was only 3 years old when the Phillies won that World Series and I remember both Vukoviches being on the team... and I don't think either of them appeared in the WS! (John Vukovich died a few years ago, he was a Phillies coach, it was really sad.) They were only both on the Phillies in 1980-1981, so there had to be some reason they made an impression on a 3-year-old. At least George played in 78 games, it was his rookie season.

But I can also see your argument against including him as well, so it's all good.

Jason Presley said...

Interesting how it's pretty much even between American and Japanese players. I'd have expected it to be slanted heavily on the side of the Americans. But thinking about it a bit more, I supposed it makes sense. All-Star calibre Japanese players are probably a lot more likely to end up on a pennant winning American team than 2nd & 3rd string calibre American players landing on a winning Japanese team.

NPB Card Guy said...

Deanna - well, I'm betting that you were an atypical three year old...Seriously though, there is a major difference between Vukovich and the Garrett, Jennings and Martinez. To be honest, the only reason I don't include him is the difficulty in determining if someone was on a World Series roster without having played in a game - I don't know if there's anyone else in that situation.

Jason - yeah, I was kind of surprised that it was an even split between Japanese and gaijin too. And I don't think I'd have ever guessed that the first guy to do it was Johnny Logan! When I think of gaijin from the 60's, I'm thinking Kent Hadley, Joe Stanka, Carl Boles - not someone that a casual American fan (from the '60's) might have actually heard of.