Friday, February 16, 2018

RIP Teruyuki Takakura

Former Lion, Giant and Atom outfielder Teruyuki Takakura passed away earlier this week at age 83.  Takakura signed with the then-Nishitetsu Lions in 1953 after graduating from Kumamoto Shogyo High School.  He got his chance to break into the Lions lineup in 1954 when left fielder Etsuro Otsuka contracted tuberculosis and he remained a starting outfielder for the Lions for the next 13 seasons.  He was the leadoff hitter on the Lions V3 team - the team that won three consecutive Nippon Series from 1956 to 1958.  He was traded to the Giants following the 1966 for Katsutoshi Miyadera in a cost-cutting move by the Lions.  He had a fairly strong first season with Yomiuri but lost his starting job to rookie Shigeru Takada in 1968 and the team released him after the season.  He hooked on with the Sankei Atoms for 1969 (rejoining his Lions teammate Yasumitsu Toyoda who was a coach for the team).  He retired after the 1970 season that he spent with the now Yakult Atoms.

He was named to nine All Star teams (1956-57, 1959, 1961-66) and three Best 9 teams (1959, 1964, 1966).  He played in four Nippon Series with the Lions (losing in 1954 and winning in 1956-58) and one with the Giants (winning in 1967 in which he won the "Outstanding Technique" Award).

There's a number of cards of Takakura available from when he played.  He's also appeared in a number of OB sets over the last 20 years although not nearly as many as some of his contemporaries.  Here's a handful of his cards:

1957 Marusan JCM 43a

1960 Maruya JCM 57c

2002 BBM All Time Heroes #134

2009 BBM Lions Memorial #35

2014 Epoch Giants V9 Glorious Victory #24

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