Kazuo Yamane

From BR Bullpen

Kazuo Yamane (山根 和夫) born as Kazuo Shimizu

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 182 lb.

Kazuo Yamane pitched for 13 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball, making two All-Star teams.

Yamane was born as Kazuo Shimizu, but married a lady named Yamane and took her name. He pitched for Nihon Kokan Fukuyama in the industrial leagues. He signed with the Hiroshima Carp, debuting with the big club in 1977. He allowed 7 runs (3 earned) in 12 innings that year then allowed one run in 1/3 of an inning in 1978. In 1979, he became a reliable member of the Carp staff with a 8-4, 2.90 record and only 23 walks in 130 1/3 innings. He was 6th in the Central League in ERA (between Shigeru Kobayashi and Hisao Niura). In the 1979 Japan Series, he helped Hiroshima to its first Japan Series title ever. He started and lost game two to the Kintetsu Buffaloes, then won games five and seven (to clinch the Carp's historic title). For the Series, he was an excellent 2-1, 2.91 record and just 10 hits and 3 walks in 20 innings. At the plate, he was 2 for 7 with a run. Teammate Yoshihiko Takahashi won the Series MVP award.

Yamane made his first CL All-Star team in 1980, when he was 14-13 with a 2.97 ERA as a mainstay of the Hiroshima rotation. He again was 6th in the league in ERA, between Kenichi Kajima and Yasujiro Suzuki. He was 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in the 1980 Japan Series, getting a no-decision in game one versus Kintetsu then winning both games four and seven to lead the Carp. The right-hander had a 12-11, 3.09 line in 1981 with 28 walks in 195 1/3 IP. For the third straight year, he was 6th in the circuit in ERA, this time sandwiched between Tatsuo Komatsu and Kazuyuki Yamamoto.

The Hiroshima hurler fell to 7-12, 3.38 in 1982. He was 10-13 with a 3.81 ERA and two saves in 1983. Yamane went 16-8 with a 3.41 ERA in 1984 and made his second All-Star squad. He finished 8th in ERA (between Hajime Kato and Takao Obana). His three shutouts tied Suguru Egawa for the lead. He also made the Best Nine as the CL's top hurler, beating out Kazuhiko Endo (the leader in wins [17] and strikeouts) and ERA leader Seiji Kobayashi). It was his last good season as a starter. He was strong again in the 1984 Japan Series, going 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA and collecting 2 hits in 7 at-bats, scoring one run. He had strong outings in games one and four but Hiroshima rallied to win both games after he left. He then started and beat the Hankyu Braves and Hisashi Yamada in the decisive game seven. Through 2010, Yamane has won the final game of all three Japan Series won by Hiroshima.

Yamane hurt his shoulder and took a long time to recover. He was 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA and .403 opponent average in 1985 and allowed one run on three hits and two walks in two innings in 1986 to end his 10-year career with the Carp. Moving to the Seibu Lions, he allowed two runs in seven innings (but walked 7) in 1987. In 1988, the veteran was resurgent at 5-0 with two saves, a 1.28 ERA and .202 opponent average in 32 relief outings. He allowed one unearned run in 2 2/3 IP in the 1988 Japan Series as Seibu beat the Yomiuri Giants for his fourth Japan Series title.

Yamane pitched one more season for Seibu, going 6-1 with four saves and a 3.88 ERA in 31 games in 1989. Overall, he had gone 78-64 with 8 saves and a 3.31 ERA in 278 games (170 starts) in NPB. In 1,320 1/3 innings, he walked 304, struck out 612 and allowed 1,348 hits. As a batter, he hit .152/.189/.188.

Following his playing career, the Okayama native was a baseball commentator then coached for the Nippon Ham Fighters.

His repertoire featured a forkball, shuuto and a fastball in the low 90s.

Source: Japan Baseball Daily