- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 178 lb.
- High School PL Gakuen High School
Takao Obana was a 3-time All-Star in the Central League.
Obana played for Shin Nittetsu Sakai in the industrial leagues. He was picked in the 4th round in 1977 by the Yakult Swallows. He was 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 7 games in 1978. He did not pitch in the 1978 Japan Series. He had a 4-9, 4.93 record in 1979, giving up 163 hits in 137 innings. Obana went 6-13 with a save and a 3.01 ERA in 1980. He was 8th in the Central League in ERA; his poor record is even more surprising as Yakult had the best offense in the CL that season.
Obana had a 8-6, 4.21 record in 1981. In 1982, he went 12-16 with four saves and a 2.60 ERA. He made his first CL All-Star team and was 6th in the CL in ERA. He was one loss behind league leader Kazuhiko Endo.
In 1983, the right-hander from Wakayama was 11-10 with six saves and a 4.69 ERA. He had a 14-8 record with 7 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 1984 to place 9th in the CL in ERA. He was 11-8 with 7 saves and a 4.39 ERA in 1985. He made his second All-Star team but led the league in hits allowed (229), hit batsmen (12), runs allowed (108) and earned runs allowed (100).
Obana fell to 9-17 in 1986 with a 4.25 ERA. He led the CL in runs allowed (105), earned runs allowed (95) and losses. In 1987, he had a 11-15, 3.96 record with 3 saves. He gave up the most runs (111) and hits (227) in the CL while facing the most batters (869). He also led in losses.
In 1988, the PL Gakuen High School alumnus posted a 2.87 ERA but had just a 9-16 record. He led the league in batters faced (949), hits allowed (242), innings (232) and losses. He made his third and final All-Star squad. He was 7th in the league in ERA, between Matt Keough and Bill Gullickson.
The veteran hurler was 11-8 with a 4.40 ERA in 1989, allowing 225 hits in 167 2/3 IP. He was six hits behind league leader Takashi Nishimoto. He only pitched four games in 1990, going 0-1 with a 4.98 ERA. He wound up his playing career in 1991 with a 5-8, 4.35 record. The next year, Yakult made the Japan Series for the first time since Obana was a rookie, his career coinciding with a low point in franchise history.
Overall, Obana was 112-135 with 29 saves and a 3.82 ERA in 425 games in Nippon Pro Baseball, giving up 2,388 hits in 2,203 innings.
After retiring as a player, Obana was a commentator for Fuji-TV. He became a coach with Lotte, then Yakult. He was pitching coach for the Daiei Hawks for a period. From 2006 through 2009, he was pitching coach of the Yomiuri Giants. After they led the 2009 Central League in ERA and won the 2009 Japan Series, Obana was hired as manager of the Yokohama BayStars, the last-place team in '09. He succeeded Tomio Tashiro. After going 48-95-1 and finishing last in 2010 and 47-86-11 and another last-place finish in 2011, he was canned in favor of Kiyoshi Nakahata.