Shingo Takatsu- Japan's Mr. Zero: Short Time Mets Pitcher (2005)

Shingo Takatsu
was born November 25th, 1968, in Hiroshima, Japan. 

Nippon Professional Baseball: The six-foot right hander pitched in Japan with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows for thirteen seasons. There he set the all-time save record with 260 saves, but it has since been broken. In Japan he was known as "Mr. Zero" since he did not allow any runs in ten Nippon Series championship games.

MLB Career: In 2004 he signed on to pitch in the Major Leagues with the Chicago White Sox. Takatsu made a big mark in America, coming in second in the Rookie of the Year voting as he saved 19 games (tenth in the AL). He was 6-4 with a 2.31 ERA striking out 50 batters in 62 innings while walking 21. That year the White Sox finished in second place.

In the 2005 White Sox championship season, Takatsu was not effective. In 31 games he posted a .5.20 ERA giving up 21 runs including 11 HRs in 36.1 innings of work. 
Manager Ozzie Guillen gave the closer job to Dustin Hermanson with Bobby Jenks also waiting in the wings. By August Shingo had fallen out of favor with organization & was released. 

Mets Career: He was given a chance by the New York Mets signing on August 12th.

On September 3rd, Takatsu debuted for the Mets in Florida, blowing a save in a 5-4 loss to the Marlins. On September 7th, he served up a walk off 10th inning single to the Braves Ryan Langerhans.

On September 15th he earned a hold pitching a scoreless 6th inning against the Nationals at Shea Stadium. 

On September 26th he finished off the 7th inning in Philadelphia serving up a HR to Pat Burrell. In the top of the 8th the Mets scored three runs which earned him his only Mets victory.

That November he was granted free agency. Takatsu made nine appearances for the Mets going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA. He had six strike outs & three walks in 7.2 innings. 

Post Mets Career: The following year he went back to pitch in Japan. He returned to the Swallows & eventually became their closer. That season he became the second Japanese pitcher to earn 300 saves. 

He attempted two returns to MLB with the Cubs & Giants but did not make either team's roster. Shingo went on to pitch in both Taiwan & Korea becoming the first pitcher to pitch in LB, Nippon, Taiwan & Korea.

Retirement: In 2020 he became manager of the Yakult Swallows. His team won the Central League Championship. In 2022 he was inducted into the Japanese baseball Hall of Fame.

Family: Shingo married his wife Maki in 2004. They have two sons together.


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