Takahashi with the Chunichi Dragons
|Chunichi Dragons – No. 3|
January 18, 1994 |
Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan
|March 31, 2012, for the Chunichi Dragons|
|Runs batted in||91|
Takahashi started playing baseball from grade 1 at Fujisawa Zengyo Elementery school as a pitcher. He started to play with local club, Shonan Boys from his Fujisawa Zengyo Middle School days  and as a middle-school junior experienced the final of the Giants Cup in 2007. For high school, Takahashi had his sights set on playing for Yokohama High School but received an invitation to play for Tokai University Kofu High School by coach, Junichi Izumi which he accepted. Ryo Watanabe currently of the Nippon Ham Fighters played at the same school but was two years Takahashi's junior.
In Spring of his first year of high school, he was deployed as a third-baseman and 4th in the batting line-up, becoming a regular for the team. From Autumn however Takahashi was played as a short-stop. In Spring of his second year in a practice game against Kashiwa Municipal High School, Takahashi recorded 2 grand slams in one inning. In Spring of his third and final year, he contributed to victory in the prefectural tournament, hitting .471 along the way. In the final of the tournament, Takahashi recorded what would be a Yamanashi Prefecture record with his 57th home run. In the Summer, his team bombed out of the Yamanashi Prefectural qualifying tournament for the Koshien, but was then selected for the Japanese representative team to play in the 2011 Asian Junior Baseball Championship. In 5 games and 20 at-bats, Takahashi smashed 10 base hits, registering 13 RBIs. In the final against the Republic of Korea, he would hit a 2-run homer that would make up his 71st home run as a high schooler, the 9th most in history for a high schooler, as well as claim tournament MVP honors.
In the 2011 NPB Draft, Takahashi was the first pick for the Orix Buffaloes, Tokyo Yakult Swallows and the Chunichi Dragons where the Dragons won the rights to negotiate for the youngster's contract. He became the first high schooler in NPB draft history to have 3 teams select him as their first pick despite not having Koshien experience. On the 25th of November at a hotel within Yokohama city, Shuhei signed a provisional contract worth 12 million yen per year with a sign on bonus of 100 million yen. This became the highest wage ever given to a high schooler in Chunichi history.
On the June 17, Shuhei hit his first pro homerun, the winner, at the Kyocera Dome off the pitching of Orix Buffaloes (Now Softbank Hawks) righty, Hayato Terahara. He became the youngest drafted high school hitter to achieve the feat at 18 years, 4 months old and the first high school rookie to hit a homer for the Dragons since Masahiko Morino in 1997 and 8th overall. It was also only the second time that a maiden homer by a high school rookie became the winning run, the last time being by Morimichi Takagi in 1960. He would also rake 7 homeruns to claim home-run champion honours in the Western League.
Due to an injury to Dominican 3rd baseman, Hector Luna, Takahashi was given the chance to state his credentials in his preferred position for the last half of the season. On August 1 in a game against the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium, Takahashi became the youngest player in Chunichi history to hit a come from behind grand slam. In the off-season, Takahashi switched numbers with outfielder Kei Nomoto with the young infielder taking on the number 9.
With regular all-star short-stop Hirokazu Ibata leaving the team for the Yomiuri Giants at the end of the 2013 season and Luna and Morino set at 3rd and 1st base respectively, Takahashi was given a chance in the pre-season to solidify his spot as a regular at Ibata's former position. However, due to poor batting form, he did not make the opening day roster with Anderson Hernandez being preferred over him. Following that set-back, Takahashi was deployed in the Western league at either third base or short-stop, and, as with the previous year, made his return to the first team with an injury to Luna. On July 7, he was promoted to the first team to be the replacement third-baseman and on the July 14, hit his first homerun of the season against the Yokohama DeNA BayStars while homering again against the Giants at Nagoya Dome on July 25. On August 12, Takahashi registered his 8th home run of the season at Gifu Prefectural Baseball Stadium with an out of the park home run.
Once again in the off-season, Shuhei had his number changed this time to the famed number of Dragons legend, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami the number 3. (The number had been vacated by the departing Daiki Yoshikawa; Takahashi's 9 was given to the newly drafted Shun Ishikawa)
Takahashi experienced a poor season with the bat, averaging only .208 and as such was dropped from the first team in July not to return for the rest of the season. In the off-season he along with team mates Tomohiro Hamada, Iori Katsura, Shota Tomonaga and Junki Kishimoto were loaned to the Taiwanese winter league where Shuhei averaged .254 with 2 homeruns.
With the release of Hector Luna in the off-season, Shuhei was all but guaranteed third-base and took his place in the starting day line-up, batting 7, against the Hanshin Tigers. After Ryosuke Hirata's injury early in the season, due to superb batting form, Shuhei was elevated to number 3 in the line-up. Up until the end of April, he was averaging .276 with 3 homers and 13 RBIs. However on April 30, Shuhei broke a bone in his wrist while playing against the Hiroshima Carp where he had to be substituted mid-game and as such was de-registered from the first team the following day.
On July 28, after spending time with the farm team recuperating, Takahashi made his return to the Dragons line-up against the Yokohama DeNA Baystars batting 6th in the line-up fielding at third-base. He contributed to the 15-2 victory with 2 hits and 4 RBIs to mark a tremendous return to the starting line-up against his hometown team.
2016 ended with Takahashi touching personal best totals for season at-bats, RBIs, hits and OBP.
Growing up, Takahashi was a keen admirer of Giants and New York Yankees legend, Hideki Matsui. When he was drafted by the Dragons, he made mention of his respect and admiration for his new team-mate, Masahiko Morino.
Shuhei shares the same hometown as team-mate Shinnosuke Ogasawara and the two attended the same elementary school and played at the same junior baseball side Shonan Boys. They played together in a local park as boys and their homes are said to be separated by about 10 minutes walk. When Shuhei turned professional with the Dragons, it was the then middle-school student Ogasawara that presented him with a celebratory bouquet.
On January 4, 2017, it was announced that Takahashi had married local Aichi office worker, Yuri, following a 4 year relationship with plans to hold a wedding ceremony at the end of the 2017 season.
|Nippon Professional Baseball|
Bold indicates league leader; statistics current as of 29 September 2016
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