Takao Katsuragi (葛城 隆雄)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 182 lb.
- High School Oita Uenooka High School
Katsuragi made his pro debut with the 1955 Mainichi Orions, hitting only .169/.182/.308 in 34 games. In 1956, batting .250/.277/.398 with 13 home runs. He tied Seiji Sekiguchi for 5th in the Pacific League in homers, trailing Futoshi Nakanishi, Kazuhiro Yamauchi, Bill Pinckard and Kihachi Enomoto. He also made a league-high 51 errors, playing SS.
Takao batted .267/.319/.443 with 16 dingers in 1957; on August 27, he hit for the cycle and drove in 8 in the process. He made his first PL All-Star team. He was among the PL leaders in hits (129, 7th), doubles (25, 5th), triples (6, 6th), home runs (16, 6th), RBI (91, 3rd, behind Nakanishi and Katsuya Nomura) and double play grounders (17, 1st).
In 1958, the Orions slugged produced at a .305/.337/.512 with 30 doubles, 20 home runs, 85 RBI and 17 steals in 20 tries. He was 5th in the PL in runs (65), first in hits (147, 2 ahead of Yoshinori Hirose), third in doubles (behind Hirose and Akitoshi Kodama), sixth in triples, sixth in steals, third in home runs (3 behind Nakanishi, one behind Nomura), first in RBI (one ahead of Nakanishi), first in total bases (247), third in average (behind Nakanishi and Shoichi Busujima) and second in slugging (behind Nakanishi). He was an All-Star again and was picked to the Best Nine as the league's top shortstop.
The Oita native had another great year in 1959 (.310/.363/.515, 24 HR, 95 RBI). He led the PL in at-bats (526), hits (163), RBI, total bases (271) and double play grounders (28); though only 23 years old that season, he would never lead the league in anything again. He was also second in runs (73, 13 behind Hirose), second in home runs (one behind Yamauchi), 3rd in average (trailing Kohei Sugiyama and Yamauchi) and second in slugging (to Yamauchi). He made the Best Nine at third base.
Katsuragi fell to five homers and a .295/.326/.382 batting line in 1960. He was still an All-Star and 6th in average (between Kodama and Nomura). He was 4 for 16 with a double, steal and 2 RBI in the 1960 Japan Series but his club fell to the Taiyo Whales. In 1961, the infielder hit .267/.282/.431 with 16 HR and 17 SB in 21 tries. He only drew 11 walks. He was 8th in the PL in home runs and 4th in RBI (after Yamauchi, Isao Harimoto and Nomura).
In 1962, Takao had one more big season, hitting .333/.360/.423 with 33 doubles. He made his last All-Star squad. He was second in the PL in hits (159, one behind Enomoto), third in doubles (after Yamauchi and Hiroki Okajima), 10th in RBI and third in average (trailing Jack Bloomfield and Yamauchi). Kodama made the Best Nine instead at 3B. He faded to .249/.289/.383 in 1963. The Orions then dealt their former star to the Chunichi Dragons for Masuho Maeda.
With Chunichi in 1964, Katsuragi posted a .258/.284/.400 batting line with 27 doubles and 14 homers. Moving to the outfield, he finished third in the Central League in doubles, 3 behind Takeshi Kuwata and Eiji Fujii. In '65, he hit .273/.298/.349 with only four homers, 20 extra-base hits, 12 walks and 23 runs. He batted .274/.299/.394 with 21 doubles in 1966.
Katsuragi showed he still had some pop in 1967 (.276/.318/.495, 20 HR, 7th in the CL in homers). He hit .291/.314/.391 in 1968, finishing 8th in the CL in average (between Kunio Fukutomi and Kazuhiko Kondo). He fell to .228/.301/.287 and a bench role, now at 1B, in 1969. He was 8 for 30 with a homer and 2 walks for the Hanshin Tigers in 1970. That year, he was suspended for three months for his involvement in the Black Mist Scandal; it was his final season.
In 1,787 NPB games, Katsuragi hit .278/.310/.424 with 304 doubles, 174 home runs, 675 runs, 860 RBI and 262 walks in 6,679 plate appearances. Through 2011, he was 18th in NPB history in double-play grounders (203, between Michiyo Arito and Motonobu Tanishige), 57th in doubles, tied for 57th in triples (44) and 67th in RBI.
- Japanbaseballdaily by Gary Garland
- Michael Eng's Japanese Player Database