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Beasts From the East: Buying Japanese Baseball Players' Memorabilia
Kei Igawa - Left-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees. Joined MLB in 2007 after 8 years with the Hanshin Tigers. Quick Facts: Avg. fastball- 89-90 mph. Won the Sawamura Award (Japanese equivalent to the Cy Young Award.
Tadahito Iguchi - Second basemen for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 and now with the Chiba Lotte Marines. Started his MLB career for Chigaco in 2005 and played the previous seasons with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks since 1997. Quick Facts: Played for the Japanese National team in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Was a member of the 2005 White Sox World Series Champion Team.
Akinori Iwamura - Third basemen for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Began his MLB career in 2007 after 9 seasons playing in Japan. Qucik Facts: Played for Japan in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Kenji Johjima - Catcher for the Seattle Mariners from 2006 to 2009 and for the Hanshin Tigers since 2010. Started with the Seattle Mariners in 2006. Before coming to play in America, Johjima played two seasons with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and ten seasons with the Daiei Hawks. Quick Facts: Holds the record for most hits by a rookie catcher. Seven time Gold Glove winner in Japan.
Hideki Matsui - Outfielder for the New York Yankees since 2003 and Anaheim Angles since 2010. Played for Japans most successful baseball franchise, the Yomiuri Giants, from 1993-2002. Quick Facts:Nicknamed "Godzilla" in Japan. Was once intentionally walked five times in a high school game.
Daisuke Matsuzaka - Right-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Daisuke, aka Dice K, started his MLB career in 2007 with the Sox and had played his eight previous seasons with the Seibu Lions in Japan. Quick Facts: The Red Sox won the bid rights to Matsuzaka with a bid of $51,111,111.11. Dice K is represented by sports agent Scott Boras.
Hideki Okajima - Left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox in 2009 and now with the Atlanta Braves. Began with the Red Sox in 2007, coming from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan. He spent 1995 to 2005 with the Yomiuri Giants. Quick Facts: Voted to the American League All-Star team in 2007.
Takashi Saito - Right-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before comnig to the Dodgers in 2006, he spent 1993-2005 with the Yokohoma Bay Stars and 1992 for the Taiyo Whales in Japan. Quick Facts:
Ichiro Suzuki - Outfielder for the Seattle Mariners. Has played with the Mariners since 2001. Previous to his MLB career, Ichiro played for the Orix Blue Wave starting in 1992. Quick Facts: Hit the first ever inside-the-park homerun in an All-Star game in 2007. Holds MLB's single season record for hits, 262 in 2004.addthis_url = location.href; addthis_title = document.title; addthis_pub = 'sportsmem';