Kenji Miyamoto (宮本 賢治)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 160 lb.
Kenji Miyamoto pitcher over 350 games in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Miyamoto was on the team that won the 1977 summer Koshien. He was 35-18 in college, winning the Tokyo Metropolitan University League MVP twice and setting a school record for wins. He was a first-round pick of the Yakult Swallows in 1981. He was 4-6 with a save and a 3.80 ERA as a rookie in 1982. He went 7-8 with two saves and a 3.80 ERA in 1982. He tied Suguru Egawa and Kazuo Yamane for 7th in the Central League with 27 home runs allowed and he hit 10 batters, second to Shigeru Kobayashi's 11.
The Hyogo native was only 4-10 with a 6.52 ERA and .314 opponent average in 1984, tying Masaji Hiramatsu and Shoji Sadaoka for 9th in losses. His struggles continued into 1985 (2-10, 6.26, .323 opponent average) and he was 6th in the CL in losses. He rebounded somewhat in 1986 (2-7, 5.35, .309 opponent average) then was 5-6 with two saves and a 4.52 ERA in 1987. In 40 games in 1988, the right-hander went 5-5 with a 4.52 ERA. He was 8th with 18 gopher balls served up.
He was 1-4 with a 4.34 ERA in 1989. In 1990, he had perhaps his best season: 11-7, 3.16. He was 6th in the league in ERA (between Sadaoka and Takashi Nishimoto), tied for 7th in wins and tied Hiroshi Nagatomi and Hiroki Nomura for 7th with 8 complete games. His 10 hit batters were one shy of leader Hiroto Kato. #14 faded to 4-4, 4.88 in 1991. He spent the next season in the minors (and Yakult promptly won its first CL title in 14 years) and was 4-1 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in limited action in 1993. He had an interesting game on August 29, starting against the Yokohama BayStars and then moving to right field with two outs in the 5th for a one-out reliever; he returned to the hill for three more innings for a relief win. No one had done that in NPB for 15 years. In the 1993 Japan Series, the submariner did very well, appearing in relief in Yakult wins in games 1 and 2 and turning in a good start in game 5 but losing a duel to the Seibu Lions' Kimiyasu Kudoh; Yakult won it all and Miyamoto allowed one run in 6 1/3 IP for the Series.
The veteran went 2-3 with a 3.21 ERA and .223 opponent average in 1994 and 2-0 with two saves, a 3.43 ERA, .213 average allowed and 1.03 WHIP in 1995. In the 1995 Japan Series, he pitched two games against the Orix BlueWave but struggled; of 5 batters faced, he allowed two hits, one walk and two runs. Yakult won anyways. In 1996, he remained steady (2-0, 3.12, .228 opponent average) in his final year.
Overall, he was 55-71 with 5 saves and a 4.38 ERA in 378 NPB games (139 starts). In 1,131 2/3 IP, he allowed 1,189 hits (178 HR) and 337 walks while fanning 521.
He later was a sportswriter for Sankei Sports. He coached in the minors for Yakult in 1999-2000, then became a scout for them. He signed Hiroyasu Tanaka, Shohei Tateyama and Shinichi Takeuchi among others.