Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 Season Recap for Rami-Chan

For those of you who have been following this blog on a regular basis during this past baseball season know that I have been focusing my attention on one particular Latino ballplayer who has played the bulk of his professional career in Japan. I first started with a post Rami-chan, the Dominant Latino Gaijin in Japan (April 8, 2010) and followed it up with Return to Japan to look at Rami-Chan (July 1, 2010) and Latino Milestones in the U.S. and Japan (September 1, 2010). Now with the baseball season in Japan being over for about a month or so, I wanted to close out the 2010 season by focusing on Alex Ramirez (PHOTO CREDIT: http://japanesebaseballcards.blogspot.com/).

Ramirez, or as he is affectionately known in Japan as Rami-Chan, has been one of the few Latino ballplayers in Japan to both be successful and have a long career in the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB). Having just finished his 10th season in Japan, Ramirez batted .304 with career highs in homers and RBI's (49 and 129). In 566 at-bats, Ramirez had 172 hits (28 2B/0 3B/49 HR) with 98 strikeouts and 21 walks.

As I had highlighted in my post Ichiro and the 200 Hit Club in Japan from my Baseballism blogpage (up to this season) Ramirez was only one of three players to have 200 or more hits in a season (after this season there are five players). Ramirez is a two-time Central League MVP (2008 and 2009) who remains a force in the NPB.

So I decided to ask a few individuals who are in the know when it comes to the Japanese leagues on whether they believe Ramirez is the best Latino to play in Japan. I ran my query by Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times and
Patrick Newman of the NPBTracker.com website for their opinions through Twitter and here is what they had to say.

Jason Coskrey: Hmmm. It's hard not to put him at the top. With his numbers, among foreigners and it's Tuffy (Rhodes) and him. Longevity plays a role...Rami has 10 yrs here. But is he better than Alfonso Soriano or others who weren't here as long? NPB only, I put him at the top

Patrick Newman
: Probably. I think (Roberto) Petagine was a little better at his peak but Rami has lasted longer. Roberto Barbon has a case in some ways.

Ok, so here is where the road leads me to Latino ballplayers in Japan. I will be working on a few posts on Roberto Barbon who in the arrived in Japan from Cuba in the 1950's and is regarded by many as being the first Latino ballplayer in Japan. Roberto Petagine was a slugger who played in Japan from 1999 and 2004. In addition to these players, I will try to shed some light on some other Latino ballplayers that I have come across in my research. Look forward to bringing some new information to you during the next few months to come.

FH

For Further Reading
- Click Here for Alex Ramirez's statistics page from the English NPB Website
- Click Here for the Japan Times sports webpage where you can read Japanese Baseball articles by Jason Coskrey among others
- Click Here to access NPBTracker.com for information on Baseball in Japan and around the world.
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