Thursday, December 12, 2019

RIP Takeo Daigo

Longtime Orions catcher Takeo Daigo has passed away from Acute myeloid leukemia at age 81.  Daigo signed with the then-Mainichi Orions in 1957 after graduating from Waseda Kitsugyo High School (where one of his battery-mates was a pitcher who was two years younger than him - Sadaharu Oh).  Daigo spent the next 18 seasons with the Orions as they became the Daimai Orions in 1958 (after merging with the Daiei Stars), the Tokyo Orions in 1964 and the Lotte Orions in 1969.  He's one of only two players to play for all four versions of the Orions - the other was Hall Of Famer Kihachi Enomoto.  Daigo was a four time All Star (1965, 1968, 1969 and 1971) and played for the Orions in the 1970 Nippon Series. 

It looks like his final appearance in a game was Game One of the 1974 Nippon Series where he appeared in the starting lineup batting second as the shortstop.  He was pinch hit for in the top of the first inning by Keisuke Senga so he never actually appeared in the field at shortstop.  I'm guessing he was announced, stepped up to the plate to take an obligatory (but official) pitch and was then replaced by Senga. 

He became a coach for the Orions after retiring.  He actually had four separate stints coaching with the team - 1974-1979, 1984-1986, 1991-1995 and 2001-2002.  He also scouted for Lotte, worked as a TV commentator and was a Far East scout for the Padres for a couple years in the late 1990's (but after the Hideki Irabu fiasco).

Here's a couple cards of him.  To my knowledge he's only appeared in a handful of modern sets.  Besides what I have here he was in the 2009 BBM Marines and the 2019 Epoch Lotte 50th Anniversary sets.

1958 Marusan JCM 42

2002 BBM All Time Heroes #182

2009 BBM Lotte 40th Anniversary #10
The photo on his 2002 card shows him in a Mainichi uniform so it must have been taken in his rookie season of 1957.


Sean said...

He will be missed.

I have a copy of that Marusan menko you have of him too and there is something interesting about that one.

The next card on the sheet that came in is a continuation of the same photo. On Daigo's card he is crouching behind the plate, and the next card shows the batter at plate in front of him.

I only know this because I saw it in an auction once and the seller had the two of them together to show this, I couldn't make out who the batter was (I bid on it but lost). So I'm trying to track down that matching card.

SumoMenkoMan said...

Sad to hear. Interesting to see some modern cards of him.