Friday, April 9, 2021

Tomomi Takahashi

You'd be forgiven if you had thought Lions pitcher Tomomi Takahashi had retired before the end of last season - he's been on Seibu's ikusei roster the last two years.  Takahashi had spent a couple seasons playing for Seino Transportation of the industrial leagues after graduating from Gifu Shotoku Gakuen University and was the Lions fourth pick in the 2012 draft.  He made his debut with the ichi-gun team midway through the 2013 season and by the middle of 2014 he was the Lions closer.  He finished the year with 29 saves and an ERA of 2.01.  He came in second to Ayumu Ishikawa in the Pacific League Rookie Of The Year voting that year and made the roster of the Samurai Japan team that took on the MLB All Stars in November.  

He recorded 22 saves for the Lions in 2015 and made the All Star team but lost his closer job to Kazuhisa Makita in the middle of the season.  He suffered a fractured leg late in the season that prevented him from playing for Japan in the inaugural Premier 12 that fall.  His leg was healed in time for the start of the 2016 season but he blew out his elbow in late April and needed Tommy John surgery which kept him off the field for a year.  He spent most of the second half of 2017 with the farm team but made a couple appearances with the top team at the end of the year.  He hurt his shoulder in his first appearance in 2018 and missed the rest of the season.  The Lions released him at the end of the year and then signed him as a development (ikusei) player.  He was still unable to get healthy though and didn't pitch at all in 2019.  His only pitching appearance in 2020 was his retirement game in which he threw one 66 mph pitch that Israel Mota of the Giants flied out on.  

His first cards were in the 2013 BBM Rookie Edition (#51) and 1st Version (#215) sets.  His first Calbee card was from the limited edition "Guardian" box set that was associated with the 2014 Series Three set - they only sold on this set on their online store.  His only "normal" Calbee cards were in the 2015 Series One (#034) and 2016 Series Two (#094) sets.  Here's a small selection of his cards:

2013 BBM Rookie Edition #51

2013 BBM 1st Version #215

2013 BBM Lions #L23

2014 Front Runner Lions Rookies & Young Stars #11

2015 Lions Fan Club #43

2016 Calbee ##094

2018 Epoch Lions Rookies & Stars #25

I figure that the photos from his 2013 1st Version and Lions cards must have been taken within seconds of each other.

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