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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Takashi Maema, Got There - 14

Originally published Dec. 27, 2013
Takashi Maema made Nippon Professional Baseball, but it took him a few years to get there.

It took him into his eighth professional season to get there.

Once he did get there, he saw time in two NPB seasons for Hiroshima. That time included one season, 1996, where he got into 32 games for the Carp, posting a 3.88 ERA.

Maema's career began in 1989, taken by Hiroshima in the third round of the draft, out of Tosu, Saga Prefectural High School in Japan. The Japanese form of Maema's name is ๅ‰้–“ๅ“.

With Hiroshima, Maema was sent to the United States for 1990, to play for rookie Gate City in the Pioneer League. Maema got into 19 games there, nine starts. He ended with a 7.16 ERA and 47 strikeouts.

Maema started off better, though, according to The Deseret News. Before a mid-July start, he was tied for fourth in the league with 28 strikeouts. He also had a 3.27 ERA. The Salt Lake Trappers then helped inflate that ERA, scoring three first-inning runs.

Maema then returned to Japan, but didn't make Hiroshima's first team until 1996. He finally debuted with the big club April 5 against Chunichi, according to his Wikipedia Japan page. He then got his first strikeout the next day, first save April 21 and first win May 12 against Yokohama.

In all, Maema picked up three wins and that one save, along with that 3.88 ERA. He also struck out 30.

Maema returned for 1997, but got into just six games. In 5.1 innings, he gave up seven earned runs. Those six outings were the last of his career.


  1. After having read Rob Fitts' recent book about Masanori Murakami, I'm curious now what kind of deal was worked out with the various teams of the Gulf Coast League, California League and Pioneer League to accomodate all of the Japanese players they had in the 1980s and very early 1990s. The popular notion is that after the Murakami incident that resulted in no "NPB controlled players" playing in the major leagues until Hideo Nomo. Yet clearly a lot of players passed through A-level ball in the intervening years. I'm curious what, if any, agreement was come to between the two countries, or if minor league ball clubs were still independent enough from their major league affiliates, that the NPB teams were able to work out deals directly with the American teams.

    1. I know Salinas and Gate City were basically independent. Gate City had a lot of Expos players, but wasn't an official affiliate. Here's a NY Times story on Salinas. Says it came down to finances.