Kenji Johjima

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"Johjima" redirects here. For other uses, see Jōjima.
Kenji Johjima
KenjiJohjimaLead.jpg
Tenure with the Seattle Mariners
Catcher
Born: (1976-06-08) June 8, 1976 (age 38)
Sasebo, Japan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Professional debut
NPB: May 31, 1995 for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks
MLB: April 3, 2006 for the Seattle Mariners
Last professional appearance
MLB: October 3, 2009 for the Seattle Mariners
NPB: May 9, 2012 for the Hanshin Tigers
NPB statistics
Batting average .296
Home runs 244
Runs batted in 808
MLB statistics
Batting average .268
Home runs 48
Runs batted in 198
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • 2003 Pacific League MVP
  • Seven-time Gold Glove winner (1999–2005)
  • Six-time selection to the "Best Nine" team, chosen by Japanese sportswriters (1999–2001, 2003–2005)
  • Five-time Best Battery Award winner (1999–2001, 2003, 2004)
  • Monthly MVP (June 1999, April 2003, June 2004)
  • Japan Series Valuable Player prize (1999, 2003)
  • Japan Series Fighting Spirit prize (2000)
  • Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Game (1997–2001, 2003–2005, 2010)
  • Most votes for the Japanese All-Star Game (2005)
  • Led AL in Caught Stealing (defense) (2007)
  • Led AL in Caught Stealing Percentage (2009)
Olympic medal record
Men's Baseball
Bronze Athens 2004 Team Competition
World Baseball Classic
Gold 2009 Los Angeles Team Competition

Kenji Johjima (城島 健司 Jōjima Kenji?, born June 8, 1976 in Sasebo, Japan) /ˈmə/ is a Japanese former professional baseball player. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball for four years with the Seattle Mariners in the American League, then returned to Japan and played for the Hanshin Tigers.

On November 21, 2005, Johjima and the Mariners agreed to a $16.5 million, three-year contract. Prior to signing with the Mariners, he played in Japan for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks team in the Pacific League who drafted him in 1999. Johjima also played in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens for Japan. On October 19, 2009, Johjima opted out of the final two years of a three-year extension that he had signed with the Mariners in 2008 with the intention to return to playing in Japan.

Professional career[edit]

Fukuoka Daiei Hawks/Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks[edit]

Johjima was named to the Pacific League's "Best Nine" for the first time as the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks won the Japan Series and the Pacific League championship. He hit .306 with 33 double and 17 home runs, third in the league in batting average behind Ichiro Suzuki and Kazuo Matsui. He ranked third in doubles and won his first Golden Glove.

He batted .310 in 2000, again earning "Best Nine" honors. He was also named an All-Star while winning another Gold Glove, while stealing a career-best 10 bases.

In 2001, Johjima hit 31 home runs and collected 95 RBI, and was again named to "Best Nine." He was selected to All-Star team and won his third consecutive Gold Glove. He played a career-high 140 games.

In 2002 Johjima won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove while batting .293.

In 2003, he helped lead the Hawks to another Pacific League championship and was named Pacific League's Most Valuable Player. He batted .330 and hit 34 home runs and posted career highs of 101 runs, 182 hits, 39 doubles, 119 RBI, 53 walks, .655 slugging percentage and .432 on-base percentage. Kenji tied his career high of 140 games played while winning his fifth straight Gold Glove, made his fourth "Best Nine" and sixth All-Star squad. He led the Pacific League in total bases, second in hits, RBI, doubles and third in home runs and runs.

He missed part of the 2004 Japan League season while playing in the Olympics but still managed career-highs of .338 and 36 home runs. Johjima was hit by a pitch 22 times, breaking Ichiro's previous Pacific League mark of 18. He homered, doubled twice and had four RBI to lead Japan to 11-2 win over Canada for the bronze medal. He ranked fifth among Olympians with a .378 batting average and seventh with seven runs scored.

A seven-time All-Star for the Hawks, Johjima became a free agent after hitting .309 with 24 home runs and 57 RBI in 116 games, during the 2005 season, which was cut short by two injuries, including a broken leg.

From 1996 through 2005, Johjima hit .299 with 211 home runs and 699 RBI in 1,117 games. His most productive season came in 2003, when he hit .330 with 119 RBI, and finished third with 34 home runs behind Tuffy Rhodes (51) and Alex Cabrera (50).

As a catcher, Johjima had 6,321 outs with 572 assists and 48 errors in 6,941 chances for a .993 fielding average. He posted a .376 caught stealing percentage (222-for-591).

Seattle Mariners[edit]

On November 21, 2005, Johjima and the Seattle Mariners agreed to a $16.5 million, three-year contract.

Johjima became the first Japanese player to catch full-time in the major leagues. Infielder Lenn Sakata, a Japanese-American born in Honolulu, caught one game for the Baltimore Orioles, winning a World Series ring in 1983.

On April 3, 2006, Johjima and Ichiro Suzuki became the first pair of Japanese position players to take the field in an MLB starting lineup.

Johjima hit a home run in each of his first two Major League games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 3 and April 4, 2006 in Seattle. He was the first catcher since Jerry Moore in 1884 to hit a home run in his first Major League game.[1]

In 2006, his first season with the Mariners, Johjima hit .291 with 18 home runs and 76 RBIs in 144 games. His 18 home runs matched the franchise record for catchers. Johjima hit .322 in August and .295 during the second half of the season. He hit two home runs and drove in a career-best five runs on June 27 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In his rookie season he set the record for most hits by a rookie catcher, with 147. The previous record was 146.

Johjima led the AL in times reached on an error (13),[1] ranked 5th in AL in hit-by-pitch, 11, and 6th in GIDP, 22. His 11 hit-by-pitches was tied for 5th-most in Mariners history. Among AL catchers, ranked 3rd in hits, 4th in average, doubles and RBI and 5th i..from May 1 to the end of the season caught 30 of 68 (44%). Kenji hit his first career grand slam May 26 against the Kansas City Royals off of Brian Bannister; he also hit grand slam July 14 against the Detroit Tigers.

In 2008 Kenji started 95 games at catcher, and has caught 3112.2 innings in the past three seasons, 5th-most in the majors. He threw out 18 of 69 attempted base stealers. On April, 15 he collected career hit number 1,500 on with a double (1,206 in Japan; 294 in Seattle). Johjima stole home May 31, his first career steal of home, only second steal since start of 2007.

On April 25, 2008, the Mariners and Johjima agreed to a three-year contract extension. However, after losing playing time to two other catchers in the 2009 season, Johjima opted out of the final two years of this extension so he could return to playing in Japan,[2] where he signed with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League. He retired a month into the 2012 season.

Career statistics[edit]

NPB[edit]

Year Age Team Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBIs SB CS BB SO BA SLG OBP
1995 18 DAI PL 12 12 2 2 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 .167 .167 .231
1996 19 DAI PL 17 58 5 14 2 0 4 28 9 1 0 3 9 .241 .483 .290
1997 20 DAI PL 120 432 49 133 24 2 15 206 68 6 2 22 62 .308 .477 .343
1998 21 DAI PL 122 395 53 99 19 0 16 166 58 5 2 27 67 .251 .420 .309
1999 22 DAI PL 135 493 65 151 33 1 17 237 77 6 2 31 61 .306 .481 .356
2000 23 DAI PL 84 303 38 94 22 2 9 147 50 10 2 27 48 .310 .485 .377
2001 24 DAI PL 140 534 63 138 18 0 31 249 95 9 4 31 55 .258 .466 .305
2002 25 DAI PL 115 416 60 122 18 0 25 215 74 8 7 30 41 .293 .517 .348
2003 26 DAI PL 140 551 101 182 39 2 34 327 119 9 4 53 50 .330 .593 .399
2004 27 DAI PL 116 426 91 144 25 1 36 279 91 6 5 49 45 .338 .655 .432
2005 28 SFT PL 116 411 70 127 22 4 24 229 57 3 4 33 32 .309 .557 .381
2010 33 HAN CL 144 554 76 168 29 0 28 281 91 9 5 27 53 .303 .507 .352
2011 34 HAN CL 38 132 7 25 3 0 5 43 13 0 0 8 16 .189 .326 .243
2012 35 HAN CL 24 39 4 7 1 0 0 8 5 0 0 2 4 .179 .205 .214
Totals: 1323 4756 684 1406 255 12 244 2417 808 72 37 344 547 .296 .508 .355

MLB American League[edit]

Year Age Team Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBIs SB CS BB SO BA SLG OBP
2006 29 SEA AL 144 542 61 147 25 1 18 228 76 3 1 20 46 .291 .451 .332
2007 30 SEA AL 135 513 52 139 29 0 14 210 61 0 2 15 41 .287 .433 .322
2008 31 SEA AL 112 409 29 86 19 0 7 126 39 2 0 19 33 .227 .332 .277
2009 32 SEA AL 71 239 24 59 11 0 9 97 22 2 2 12 28 .247 .406 .296
Totals: 462 1609 166 431 84 1 48 661 198 7 5 66 148 .268 .411 .310

Personal[edit]

  • Johjima resides in Sasebo, Japan with his wife Maki and his son Yuta and daughter Miu[3]
  • He often called himself "George Mackenzie" as opposed to "Johjima Kenji", especially before he played in MLB[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Charlton's Baseball Chronology". www.baseballlibrary.com. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Johjima leaves Seattle for Japan". Associated Press. 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  3. ^ Seattle Mariners Bio
  4. ^ cf.「スーパーキャッチャー城島健司(="Super catcher George Mackenzie")」 pp.10-12. In the TV-CF of Bank of Fukuoka, his name is listed as "George Mackenzie", not "Johjima Kenji". After he backed NPB, Hanshin tigers started to sell his goods as "GEORGE★McKENZIE".
    For those of a similar name, see George MacKenzie (disambiguation).

External links[edit]