Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Last Time the Yankees Had a "Maeda"

Last offseason many wondered if the next Masahiro Tanaka or the next Kei Igawa was on his way over from Japan in Kenta Maeda. Maeda expressed an interest in coming to the United States through the posting system only to spend another season in his native Japan. Once again Maeda is asking his team, the Hiroshima Carp, to post him so he can come to the United States and continue his professional career inside Major League Baseball. If the name “Maeda” seems familiar to some of you Yankees fans there is a very good reason for it, a reason that should scare all Yankees fans alike. The Curse of the Maeda Part II?

Back in 1996 when a familiar name called Jack Curry was writing for the New York Times he wrote about a Japanese pitcher that pitched for the New York Yankees and his name was Katsuhiro Maeda. Maeda was obtained from the Seibu Lions for roughly $350,000 plus a $1.5 million signing bonus and was immediately assigned to their Double-A affiliate at the time in Norwich, Connecticut. The Yankees fans and the team were excited about adding the “Dennis Rodman of Japanese baseball” according to Curry but the intrigue was short-lived as reality began to sink in.

Maeda was donned the Dennis Rodman of Japanese baseball because of the color scheme and the choice of how he wore his hair, usually orange. Maeda came over to the United States just a year after Hideo Nomo took over the league despite never won a game for the Yankees nor did he get a save in any of his three seasons with the Seibu Lions organization. Maeda had that blazing fastball and the personality to match it but his career 0-2 record, 4.88 ERA, 41 walks, 43 hits allowed and 42 strikeouts in 38.2 innings told a different story.

Does anyone know the rest of the story? Let’s just say this, it didn’t involve a trip to the Major Leagues or the Bronx under then GM Bob Watson or then manager Joe Torre. That Maeda threw 94-95 and got as high as 98 MPH and was scouted for months by the Yankees. This Maeda throws in the mid-80’s and relies on control and precision. From one Maeda to another I sure hope the Yankees pass on this one.

This post was meant to be funny and comical, not taken serious. Keep that in mind before emailing please. Thank you. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)