10 Best Japanese Baseball Players Ever
These are the 10 best Japanese baseball players ever. Japan has had quite an impact on the sport of baseball. Although the leagues in Japan may be inferior talent-wise to the leagues in America, every now and then they produce a gem that MLB teams bid over. Below is a list of the ten best players to ever come out of Japan, whether they are slap gap hitters or home run sluggers. Here they are.
- Ichiro Suzuki Ichiro might just be the best player to come from Japan. Period. He is so good that even though he got a late start in the MLB, he still has a chance to reach the giant plateau of 3000 hits. If he played in the MLB from age 21 like most players do, some believe he could break Pete Rose's all time hits record.
- Hideki Matsui Although this Japanese baseball player played for a team known as "The Evil Empire", he still made news reels every night for a good thing. Hideki blasted many home runs for the Yankees and even won a few World Series titles along with a World Seriers MVP award.
- Akinori Iwamura Although very underrated, Akinori is still a top ten player at his respected position of second base. He hits for a decent average, hits around 20 home runs, and even plays in the field with a solid glove.
- Hiroki Kuroda Although Dice K gets more attention than Kuroda does, Hiroki is still one of the best Japanese baseball pitchers in the majors. He may not talk a lot, or even get his outs in flashy fashion, but he consistently keeps his ERA low.
- Kenji Johjima This catcher was one of the many underrated players of his ERA. Kenji was a defensive hound who thrived at calling games and gunning runners out. His stats at the plate were merely average, but they were good enough to put him in discussion as one of the best Japanese baseball players.
- Chan Ho Park- Chan Ho Park will always be remembered for buzz saw kicking a hitter who charged the mound, but maybe he should be remembered for more than just that. Although he may not have done great in the starting pitching role, but he dominated in the bull pen.
- Kei Igawa Kei was merely a bull pen arm, but he was a huge piece of the puzzle to a Yankees team that won the world series. Over his career he compiled over 1000 strike outs and had a low three ERA, good enough to land him a spot on our list of Japanese baseball players.
- So Taguchi Although this Japanese baseball player may have returned to Japan, he was still a good player in the MLB. He won world series with both the Cardinals and the Phillies. He was great in the outfield and average at the plate. When all is said and done he has over 1100 base hits, 400 of them extra base hits.
- Tadahito Iguchi Another Japanese ball player that returned to Japan, Tadahito was pretty effective during his stay in America. He played for the White Sox to start his career, then took on the impossible task of replacing Chase Utley for a few months and somehow exceeded expectations. Iguchi hen finished his American career off for the San Diego Padres, playing third base.
- Hideo Nomo Hideo Nomo in the end was a failed experiment as he played for eight different teams in a thirteen year career, but the reason he makes our list was because he had flashes of brilliance. He came to America expecting to dominate, and although he did dominate, he just could not do it consistently.