Saturday, July 31, 2021

Ernesto Mejia

This past week Ernesto Mejia asked for and received his release from the Saitama Seibu Lions.  Mejia wanted to be able to spend time with his family and he was unable to bring them to Japan.

Mejia joined the Lions a month or so into the 2014 season after 10 years in the Braves and Royals organizations.  His 34 home runs that season tied him with his teammate Takeya Nakamura for the Pacific League lead.  He followed that up with a couple good years with 27 and 35 home runs respectively but he had a poor season in 2017 and injuries started cutting into his playing time the following four seasons.

He seemed to always have a flair for coming through in the clutch, though, as epitomized on Opening Day in 2016 against Orix when he had a game tying single in the seventh and a game winning single in the bottom of the ninth, a day commemorated by Calbee on two separate cards in their Series Two set that year.  As a Lions fan, I'll never forget seeing his heroics along with crazy stuff like hitting home runs entirely out of Seibu Dome.

Pacific League TV put out a video featuring highlights from his career (although it doesn't include Opening Day from 2016):

Here's a handful of his baseball cards.  I had intended to just pick one per year but I couldn't narrow it down for a couple years.  His 2016 BBM 2nd Version and 2019 Epoch One cards commemorate events featured in the video.

2014 BBM 2nd Version "1st Version Update" #413

2014 Calbee #182

2015 BBM Memories Of Uniform #131

2015 BBM 1st Version #127

2016 Calbee "First Win" #FW-04

2016 Calbee Checklist #C-7

2016 BBM 2nd Version #442

2017 BBM Lions #L57

2018 BBM 1st Version #044

2019 Epoch One #631

2020 Epoch NPB #024

2021 Epoch NPB #097

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