Tomotaka Sakaguchi, who retired this season, played for Kintetsu, Orix, and Yakult for 20 years.
Tomotaka Sakaguchi played for Kintetsu, Orix and Yakult for 20 years. With a total of 1,526 hits, he won the Golden Glove Award for the fourth year in a row and the title for the most hits, making fans excited with his all-around play. With the spirit of Buffaloes at its heart, the first installment of this series, which looks back on the baseball life of the man who was called “Kintetsu’s last warrior”, is “Meet Kuriyama Seibu, his first hit.”
Ever since I can remember, I never drop my glove and bat. On days off, my father, who used to play grass baseball, would take me to the grounds. He didn’t even know the rules of baseball, but he remembers, “If you want to play, it’s baseball. I couldn’t help but look forward to going to the batting cage with my friends in the neighborhood. From that on, I thought I was the best of it.”
When he was in the second grade of elementary school, he joined the “Hagidai Lions” softball baseball team. The position he defended for the first time was left wing, but the coach at the time noticed his high physical ability and also decided to serve as shortstop and pitcher. He grew taller as he progressed through the grades, and by the time he was in the sixth form, he had grown to 160 centimeters, making him a prominent presence in the area.
Although he did not participate in the national tournament, rumors spread throughout Kobe that he was a “great elementary school student” who threw and threw on the right side and left hand in the latter half of his height 110 kg, and even age when he hits, he goes over the fence again and again. Sakaguchi, who had a strong desire to become a professional baseball player, decided to play for a strong team, saying, “In order to become a professional baseball player, I want to touch a hard ball when I become a junior high school student. “
Because of his parents’ job, he left Kobe for junior high school and went to Akashi Municipal Bokai Junior High School. Without joining the school’s baseball club, he joined the Kobe Dragons of the Young League. It was a prestigious team in Hyogo that produced Tomojiro Adachi, who joined Hanshin in the first place in the draft, and Nobuyuki Ebisu, who was active in Orix and Yakult.