Seiji Kobayashi (01)
Seiji Kobayashi (小林 誠二)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 162 lb.
- High School Hiroshima Kogyo High School
Seiji Kobayashi won an ERA title in his lone season as a qualifier.
Kobayashi was a 4th-round pick of the Hiroshima Carp in 1975; it was a great year for their picking pitchers as they also took Manabu Kitabeppu in the first round and Kazuo Yamane in the second. As a rookie in 1976, Kobayashi allowed 15 hits and 8 runs in 8 1/3 IP. He was 1-3 with a 6.70 ERA and .309 opponent average in 1977 and allowed 3 runs in 8 IP in 1978. He hurt his shoulder the next year and was out of NPB in 1979-1980; in that period, he switched to a sidearm delivery. Some sources say he began throwing a palm ball at this time; others say it was in 1984.
Kobayashi then signed with the Seibu Lions. He allowed four runs in nine innings in 1981. He had a 4-0, 2.38 record in 1982. Used regularly in the 1982 Japan Series, he won games 2 and 6 but lost game 4 as Seibu beat the Chunichi Dragons in six. He also went 1 for 3 at the plate, getting to bat again as the PL used a DH unlike the Central League's Carp. He had a 1.74 ERA for the Series and joined Series MVP Osamu Higashio and Tadashi Sugimoto in leading Seibu to a 2.17 team ERA for the Series. It was Seibu's first Japan Series title, starting a dynastic run in the 1980s.
The right-hander was 3-1 with a save and a 3.77 ERA in 1983. He only pitched once in the 1983 Japan Series (in which Seibu beat the Yomiuri Giants), in between Masayuki Matsunuma and Tamotsu Nagai in a game 2 loss; he allowed two hits, a walk, a hit batsmen and a run in only 2/3 of an inning. He then returned to Hiroshima, in a deal for Toshiharu Takahashi that proved to be a steal.
Kobayashi was 11-4 with 9 saves, a 2.20 ERA, .210 opponent average and 1.03 WHIP in 1984. He easily led the CL in ERA (.74 ahead of runner-up Yutaka Ono), was third in games pitched (55, behind Osamu Fukuma and Akira Okawa), tied Suguru Egawa for 7th with 112 K and was fifth in saves (between Akio Saito and Takao Obana). He won game 1 of the 1984 Japan Series in relief against the Orix Braves and Hiroshima took the Series in 7 games (their third title and most recent, as of 2014). He was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in four games for the Series.
Kobayashi faded in 1985 (4-5, 7 Sv, 3.88). He tied Jun Kawabata for 6th in the CL with 45 pitching appearances and he tied Kawabata, Obana and Masaki Saito for fifth in saves. He was 3-1 with two saves and a 3.77 ERA in 1986 but allowed a .295 average. He tossed three shutout innings (1 H, 1 HB, 4 K) in the 1986 Japan Series but Hiroshima lost to his old Seibu teammates in a close series (4 games to 3 with one tie). Kobayashi struggled in 1987 (2-1, 5.49 in 16 G) and 1988 (7 R, 12 BB in 9 1/3 IP) to end his career.
Overall, he was 29-15 with 20 saves and a 3.70 ERA in 222 games (12 starts). He walked 147 and struck out 347 in 462 IP while allowing a .256 average.
He later was a TV announcer then a minor league Hiroshima coach.