Takeo Kawamura (川村 丈夫)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 176 lb.
Kawamura pitched for Nihon Sekiyu (Nippon Oil) in the industrial leagues after college. He was 0-1 with a save and a 4.85 ERA in five outings in the 1996 Olympics, striking out 14 in 13 innings. He gave up five runs (four earned) in five innings in an upset loss to Australia. In the semifinals, he saved the 11-2 win over Team USA, with 3 2/3 hitless, scoreless inning (2 BB, 4 K) in relief of Masanori Sugiura (Kris Benson got the loss). He faced[ [Troy Glaus]], Matt LeCroy, Jacque Jones, Mark Kotsay, Warren Morris and A.J. Hinch among others. The next day, he was back on the mound but gave up three runs (two homers) in 2/3 of an inning in a 13-9 loss to Cuba in the Gold Medal game. The Yokohama BayStars took him in the first round of the 1996 NPB draft.
As a rookie in 1997, the righty was 10-7 with a 3.32 ERA, .205 opponent average and 147 strikeouts in 157 innings. His first career hit came off Terry Bross. He finished among the Central League leaders in ERA (7th, between Balvino Galvez and Daisuke Miura), wins (tied for 7th) and homers allowed (28, 1st). He lost CL Rookie of the Year honors to Toshikazu Sawazaki, who had a couple more wins but a higher ERA. #16 duplicated his 3.32 ERA in 1998 while going 8-6 and making the CL All-Star team. He again led in homers allowed (23). He began that year on a high note, becoming the third hurler to toss an Opening Day one-hitter. Yutaka Wada greeted him with an infield single to open the contest, after which no one else got a safety. He got the call in game 6 of the 1998 Japan Series against the Seibu Lions, with Yokohama up 3 games to 2 in their quest for their first Japan Series. He turned in a strong outing, tossing 7 1/3 shutout innings (6 hits, two walks, five strikeouts) before Hideyuki Awano relieved with the game still scoreless. Yokohama pulled out a 2-1 victory for the title.
In 1999, Kawamura added a changeup to his repertoire (featuring a fastball and forkball). He had another strong season at 17-6, 3.00, making his second and final All-Star team. He finished among the CL leaders in ERA (4th after Koji Uehara, Shigeki Noguchi and Masahiro Yamamoto), homers allowed (21, tied for third with Ken Takahashi, trailing teammates Takashi Saitoh and Daisuke Miura) and wins (third, behind Uehara and Noguchi).
Kawamura faded to 7-12, 5.06 in 2000. He led the CL in defeats one season after finishing among the win leaders and gave up 23 home runs, second in the league, one shy of Satoru Komiyama. Splitting time between the bullpen and rotation, he went 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 2001. He served up his 100th homer in NPB, to a fellow pitcher, Ken Takahashi. It was one of three homers he gave up to other hurlers during his career. He saw reduced action in 2002 (0-1, 6.97, .357 opponent average in 3 G) and was 5-7 with a 4.78 ERA in 2003, his last season starting regularly for the BayStars.
Moving to the bullpen in 2004, Kawamura formed a strong combination with Kazuhiro Sasaki, Atsushi Kizuka and Hiroshi Yamada; he was 4-8 but with a 3.07 ERA, .223 opponent average, 1.12 WHIP and 80 K in 82 IP. He led the team with 58 games pitched, 6th-most in the CL behind Ryota Igarashi, Ryu Kawabata, Hitoki Iwase, Brian Sikorski and Shinya Okamoto. He was better yet in 2005 (6-6, 2.31 in 56 G, second on the team in outings behind Kizuka). In 57 games in 2006, he went 4-4 with three saves and a 3.86 ERA. He had a 3-1, 3.60 record in 35 games in 2007 then wound up with a 1-0, Sv, 4.26 line in 9 games in 2008.
Overall, Kawamura had gone 71-64 with four saves, a 3.72 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 1,115 1/3 IP. He allowed 144 home runs, walked 315 and struck out 815 in 368 NPB games.
Kawamura became a minor league pitching coach for Yokohama after retiring. In 2013, he returned to the big club as bullpen coach.