Koichi Yamashita

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Koichi Yamashita (山下 好一)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Koichi Yamashita played for Hankyu of Nippon Professional Baseball from 1936 to 1943.

He began his career by hitting .327/.417/.423 with eight walks in 13 games during the 1936 spring season, the first season of the Japanese Professional Baseball League. He batted .333/.459/.435 with 25 walks in 30 games during the fall season. He finished third in the JPBL in average (behind Susumu Nakane and Kuranosuke Furutani), tied Nakane and Hisanori Karita for 3rd in runs (20), tied Kuranosuke Furuya for second in hits (4 behind Isamu Fujii), tied for 7th in RBI, was 3rd in walks (behind Ken Onuki and Toshiyasu Ogawa), led in OBP (.001 over Nakane) and was second in slugging (.027 behind Nakane).

The next year, he posted a .428 on-base percentage (.279 AVG, .373 SLG) during the spring campaign. He was 7th in average (between Haruyasu Nakajima and Masao Nishimura), 2nd in OBP (.006 behind Kenjiro Matsuki), tied Masaru Kageura for 5th with 41 runs, tied Nakane for 5th in hits (57), tied Fujii and Toshizo Kobayashi for 4th in doubles (12), was 3rd in RBI (34, behind Kageura and Masanobu Yamaguchi) and was second with 53 walks (7 behind Yamaguchi). He averaged almost a walk per game, with his 53 walks coming in 56 contests.

He slashed .313/.425/.464 during the fall season. He was 4th in average (between Fumio Fujimura and Harrison McGalliard), 6th in OBP (between Norikazu Mizutani and Kazuo Kito), 3rd in slugging (behind Kageura and Yoshio Takahashi), tied for second in triples (5, one behind Matsuki) and tied for sixth in home runs (3).

He never again posted such high averages, hovering at or below the Mendoza line for the majority of the rest of his career. The Hankyu left fielder hit .236/.306/.326 in the spring of 1938 and .216/.293/.279 in the fall of 1938. He rebounded to .274/.379/.355 in 1939, when the JPBL went to one full season. He was 10th in the league with 45 RBI and tied Shigeru Mizuhara for 9th in OBP.

He hit .196/.263/.232 in 1940 and tied for the league lead with five sacrifice flies. He produced at a .150/.209/.200 clip in limited action in 1941 and .216/.299/.257 in 1942. With offensive levels down during the war, his 39 RBI in 94 games were still good for 5th in the JPBL in RBI (between Kengo Kuroda and Shosei Go). He ended his career by going 1-for-13 in 1943.

Overall, he batted .249/.348/.319 with 267 walks, 209 strikeouts, seven home runs, 222 RBI and 68 stolen bases in 508 games.

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