Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Akihito Fujii

Another face in the crowd of players who retired at the end of the 2015 season belongs to Akihito Fujii of the Hanshin Tigers.  Fujii was taken in the second round of the 1998 draft out of Kinki University by the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes.  He was a backup catcher during his time with Kintetsu.  He made his first Nippon Series appearance with the Buffaloes in their losing effort against the Swallows in 2001.  He was let go when Orix and Kintetsu "merged" following the 2004 season and he ended up with the expansion Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in their inaugural season of 2005.  He was the starting catcher for the Eagles in 2005 and 2006 but moved back to a backup role when Motohiro Shima joined the team in 2007.  He moved on to the Tigers for the 2011 season - ostensibly to back up Kenji Johjima but he ended up being thrust into a larger role when Johjima was hurt and ineffective.  He made the All Star team for the first and only time in 2013, his last year in the starting catcher role.  He again played in a Nippon Series in 2014, appearing in all five games for the Tigers as they lost to the Hawks.

1999 BBM #490

2001 BBM Nippon Series #S43

2004 BBM Kintetsu Memorial #K17

2005 BBM 1st Version #224

2006 BBM 1st Version #192

2009 BBM Eagles #E034

2012 Calbee #133

2013 BBM 2nd Version #527

2015 BBM Tigers #T38

I used his Baseball Reference Bullpen wiki entry as a source for my writeup - I need to remember to use those as a resource more.  Mischa Gelman has done great work writing up bios of NPB players there.

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