Hideaki Okubo (大久保 秀昭)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 170 lb.
Okubo hit .500/.561/.688 with 10 runs in 11 RBI in the 1993 Intercontinental Cup. He finished second to Omar Linares in average in the tournament and was named the All-Star catcher. Okubo was also the All-Star catcher in the 1993 Asian Championship, which he led in RBI. He batted .400/.429/.600 in the 1994 Baseball World Cup and drove in three in the Bronze Medal game to help Japan win. Luigi Carrozza beat him out for the catcher spot on the tournament All-Star team. He helped Japan take Gold in the 1994 Asian Games.
Okubo hit .474/.625/.696 in the 1995 Intercontinental Cup with 9 runs in 8 games. He made the All-Star team at catcher again. He scored the most runs in the tourney and was 5th in average. He was named the All-Star catcher in the 1995 Asian Championship, when Japan won Gold and a spot in the 1996 Olympics.
Okubo batted .289/.357/.684 with 11 runs, 4 home runs and 10 RBI in 9 games in the 1996 Olympics to help Japan win the Silver medal. He tied for 7th in home runs.
In 1998, Okubo made his debut with the Buffaloes and hit .138/.242/.207 in 22 games and 29 at-bats, scoring 7 runs despite getting just four hits. Okubo was now an outfielder rather than a catcher. Okubo played in 56 games (only 4 in the field) in 1999 and hit .305/.397/.441 as a fine pinch-hitter. He went 0 for 7 in 5 games in 2000.
Okubo produced at a .232/.324/.327 clip in his 83 games in NPB.
After retirement, Okubo worked for the Kintetsu advertising department and managed the Nippon Oil team in the industrial leagues. He got significant press when one of his players, Junichi Tazawa, decided to bypass the NPB draft and try his chances in the majors; Okubo was one of the involved parties most open to talking to the media during this time.