Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Kan Ohtake

Longtime Carp and Giants pitcher Kan Ohtake announced his retirement back in October (and, just because some recent events have made me gun-shy, here's a link to a story about his announcement).  Ohtake was the first round pick of the Carp out of Urawa Gakuin High School back in 2001.  He made his ichi-gun debut in 2003 and spent much of 2004 working out of the Carp bullpen, notching 17 saves in 43 games.  He became a regular member of the starting rotation starting in 2005 and made 24-29 starts a year between 2005 and 2009.  He wasn't very good at first but the Carp weren't a very good team either so they didn't have a lot of options.  His ERA went from 5.62 in 2005 to 4.93 in 2006 and then to 3.77, 3.84 and 2.81 over the following three seasons.  He then suffered a series of injuries that limited him to just nine games with the top team over the 2010 and 2011 seasons.  He was finally healthy again in 2012 and put together what was probably his best season as he went 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA and won the Comeback Player of the Year Award.  The Carp finished in the top half of the standings for the first time in his career in 2013 (although they still had a losing record) and made the playoffs.  After they upset the second place Tigers in the first round of the Climax Series Ohtake got the start in Game One of the Final Stage against the Giants.  He pitched well, holding the Giants to two runs in six innings but the Carp ultimately lost the game and eventually lost the Climax Series as well.  It would turn out to be his last game ever with the Carp.

He left Hiroshima as a free agent after 2013 and signed with the Yomiuri Giants.  He spent 2014 in the starting rotation for the ichi-gun team but after that he pretty much split his time between the top team and the farm team.  By 2019 the Giants had moved him into a middle relief role and he had a pretty good season that year, going 4-0 with an ERA of 2.77 in 32 games.  He pitched in Game Two of that season's Nippon Series, taking the loss when Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a three run home run off him to break up a scoreless tie.  He had another good year out of the bullpen in 2020, going 1-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 29 games and made two appearances in the Nippon Series which went better than his 2019 appearance (although the Giants were still swept by the Hawks again).  He suffered a knee injury this past season that kept him on the farm team most of the year and he announced his retirement towards the end of the season.  He'll be a coach for the Giants starting next year.

Ohtake made four All Star teams during his career - 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013.  He was a member of the Samurai Japan team that won gold at the 2019 Premier 12 tournament.

His first card ever was #P40 in the 2002 BBM Preview set and he also had cards in that year's 1st and 2nd Version sets (#112 & #533 respectively).  His first Calbee card wasn't until 2005 (#063 in the Series One set).  Here's a bunch of his cards from over the years:

2002 BBM Preview #P40

2002 BBM 1st Version #112

2006 Konami Baseball Heroes 2 Black Edition #B06B223

2008 Calbee #TP-09

2012 BBM All Stars #A49

2013 BBM 1st Version #359

2014 BBM Giants #G092

2017 Epoch Giants #03

2020 Calbee Samurai Japan #04

2021 BBM Giants #G05

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