|Chunichi Dragons – No. 82|
October 25, 1973 |
Mihama-ku, Chiba, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
|8 April, 1997, for the Nippon Ham Fighters|
|21 September, 2015, for the Chunichi Dragons|
|Run batted in||1169|
|Career highlights and awards|
Michihiro Ogasawara (小笠原 道大, born October 25, 1973 in Mihama-ku, Chiba, Chiba Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese former professional baseball player. He is currently the second team coach for Chunichi Dragons in Japan's Central League.
He had an illustrious career spanning 18 years with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Yomiuri Giants, and the Chunichi Dragons where he won two Japan Series, two MVP awards in both the Pacific and Central leagues; only one of two people to do so and the first to do it in consecutive seasons. He was an NPB All-Star 11 times. He was also a part of the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic winning Japan sides.
Ogasawara started playing baseball at age 7 playing in the Chiba West Little League. From 1989 he studied at Gyosei International High School in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture. When he started at the team he was regarded as a complete no-name and his then coach mentioned that "we were asked to go after a junior middle schooler from the Chiba West Little League and we got the player that no one spoke of, Ogasawara." Up until that point he had been tried at a variety of fielding positions including shortstop, third base and outfield but during high school was converted to be a second baseman and the following year served as a catcher (however Ogasawara admits that catcher was his least favourite position) In his junior year, alongside fellow future pro Tetsuya Kitagawa he finished runner-up in the Chiba prefectural tournament. Although now widely regarded for his power and hitting prowess, Ogaswara failed to register a single home run in the tournament.
Following graduation from high school, Ogasawara was employed with NTT East. He was judged at the time to, even in the worst case, still be of use as a bullpen catcher. He would start life with the team as a catcher and later form a battery with future Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters team-mate, Naoyuki Tateishi. In 1996, he took part in the 67th Intercity Baseball Tournament, playing alongside Nobuhiko Matsunaka with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Kazusa Magic to reach the best 8.
In 1996, Ogasawara was the third draft pick selected by the Fighters in the 1996 Nippon Professional Baseball Draft where he made the declaration that he would become a "player that can contest for batting titles."
Ogasawara was one of the most consistent hitters in Japanese baseball. He won two consecutive batting titles from 2002–2003, and led the league in home runs and RBIs in 2006 to win the Pacific League MVP award. He led the league in hits from 2000–2001, and has won 6 Japanese Golden Glove awards at first base and third base. He participated in the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens, Greece, winning a bronze medal. He also played for the Japanese national team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, where he hit a home run off Esteban Loaiza at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. In 2006, he helped the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters win their first Pacific League pennant since 1981, sweeping the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the playoffs to reach the Japanese championship series against the Chunichi Dragons. The Fighters beat the Dragons in 5 games to win the Japanese championship series.
He became a free agent in 2006, and signed a four-year contract with the Yomiuri Giants during the off-season.
Following 6 successful years with the Giants, Ogasawara would move to the Chunichi Dragons in 2013 and retired with the team at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Post-Retirement and Coaching career
Following retirement, Ogasawara was instated as the head coach of the Chunichi Dragons' minor league team, playing in the Western League. Following the dismissal of first team manager, Motonobu Tanishige on the 8th of August, 2016 Ogasawara was mentioned as the main candidate to replace the outgoing manager at the season's end. He was however unsuccessful in attaining the manager position as senior figures at the Dragons decided to appoint a more experienced manager in Shigekazu Mori to help rebuild the team.
- "Tokyo Chunichi Sports". Tokyo Chunichi Sports. 6 May 2011. p. 20.
- Takeyama, Satoshi (31 March 2016). "無名の選手から球界を代表する打者に！ 「侍」小笠原道大の野球人生を振り返る". Yakyuu Tarou (in Japanese). MyNavi. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- "俺たちの都市対抗 ／４ 一瞬にかける思い 小笠原道大さん（中日２軍監督・４２歳）＝千葉市・ＮＴＴ関東出身" (in Japanese). Mainichi Shimbun. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- "過去のドラフト 第33回（1996年) (Previous Drafts: #33 (1996))" (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- 1996年 プロ野球 ドラフト. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
- "中日小笠原が２軍監督就任 ５日から指揮も「不安」 (Chunichi's Ogasawara instated as 2nd team manager; worried about direction from the 5th)" (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. 3 October 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
- "谷繁監督を実質「解任」後任は小笠原２軍監督が筆頭 (Tanishige axed, Ogasawara touted as primary candidate for next manager)" (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
- "【中日】小笠原２軍監督が後任最有力！今季終了まで森ヘッドが監督代行…谷繁監督解任 (Chunichi: Ogasawara in prime position for next manager: Mori designated interim manager...Tanishige axed)" (in Japanese). Sports Hochi. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
- "Mori staying put with Dragons". The Japan Times. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
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