Apr 15, 2016

The Oldest Japanese Player To Debut In The Majors: Ken Takahashi (2009)

Ken Takahashi was born on April 16th 1969 in Yokohama, Japan. The six foot left hander was originally an outfielder turned pitcher in Japan. He pitched for 14 seasons with the Hiroshima Carp, where pitched a no hitter in 1996.

After five year with sub .500 records he made his first All Star team in 2000 with a 5-9 record & 4 saves [posting a 3.93 ERA. In 2001 he went 10-8 with a 4.27 ERA making another All Star team.

He continued to pitch through 2008 where he was known as the leagues old timer. He retired but expressed an interest in pitching in the Major Leagues.

He signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays but injured his calf fielding a bunt in his very first Spring Training appearance. He was released & was offered a contract by the New York Mets.

He made his first American appearance at AAA Buffalo on April 9th, 2009. He allowed two hits, two walks & a run to Pawtucket. After six games he was called up to the Mets to fill in for an injured Casey Fossum.

On May 2nd, he became the oldest Japanese player to debut in the major leagues, as he came in the 5th inning to relieve Oliver Perez, in a 6-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies as Citizens Bank Park.

Takahashi remained with the club trough the year, making 28 relief appearances. He took his only decision a loss on May 13th, at Citi Field, losing to the Atlanta Braves after allowing a HR to Martin Prado.

In 28 games he was 0-1 with 23 strike outs 14 walks & a 2.96 ERA in 27.1 innings of work.

He was not resigned & went to pitch in Japan another season in 2010.

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