Monday, June 19, 2017

Tomokazu Ohka

Tomokazu "Tomo" Ohka, veteran pitcher from the Yokohama Baystars and several MLB teams, has announced his retirement.  Ohka was a third round pick of the Baystars in the fall 1993 draft.  He made only 34 appearances with the ichi-gun Baystars over the next five seasons and Yokohama sold his contract to the Boston Red Sox.  He would spend the next 11 seasons in MLB, playing in eight different organizations - Boston, Montreal/Washington, Milwaukee, Toronto, St Louis, Seattle, Chicago (White Sox) and Cleveland.  He was briefly with the Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican League in 2010 before returning to the Baystars.  He was let go by Yokohama after 2011 and he spent the next few seasons (after missing all of 2012) bouncing around the independent minors in Japan and the US - the Toyama Thunderbirds of the BC League in 2013, the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League in 2014, back to the Thunderbirds in 2015 and the Fukushima Hopes of the BC League in 2015-16.  He also went to spring training with Toronto in 2014 and Baltimore in 2017 but he was released before the end of spring training.

As far as I can tell he only had about 10 Japanese cards, of which I have five:

1994 BBM #493

1997 BBM #224

2010 BBM 2nd Version #745

2011 BBM 1st Version #306

2013 BBM Baystars 20th Anniversary #34
His other cards are #YB22 and #YB75 from the 2011 BBM Baystars set, #C10RB044 from the 2010 Konami Baseball Heroes Winner Heat Up Version Black set, #B11RB230 from the 2011 Konami Baseball Heroes ShineStar Opening Version Black set and #186 from the 2011 Owners League 01 set.

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