Yoshinori Tateyama

Name (Japanese): 建山 義紀
Date of Birth: December 26, 1975
Hometown: Daitoh City, Osaka Prefecture
High School: Gyosei High School (Osaka)
Vocational School: Koga Health & Medical School (Shiga)
Industrial League Team: Matsushita Electric (Panasonic)
Height: 178 cm (5’10”)
Weight: 75 kg (165 lb)
Throws/Bats: Right/Right
Wore #: 53 (with Tigers)
Originally drafted by: Nippon Ham Fighters, 1998 – Round 2
Joined the Tigers’ roster in: 2014
Career Achievements/Awards: Outstanding Relief Pitcher (2004); All-Star Team (2000)
Career Stats
1999Nippon Ham2216650--11106.010143341129622.891.23
2000Nippon Ham2813680--2089.110657551529555.541.51
2001Nippon Ham101100--0014.122171759910.672.16
2002Nippon Ham450324--0059.0401615713412.290.90
2003Nippon Ham3202115--0037.1249954312.170.75
2004Nippon Ham410130--0046.139171247392.330.99
2005Nippon Ham450462100051.1502221108353.681.13
2006Nippon Ham46033080047.0421816610303.061.11
2007Nippon Ham7724001041.033201979314.171.02
2008Nippon Ham580122220067.1612323312533.071.08
2009Nippon Ham460570190047.2532420315433.781.43
2010Nippon Ham580124250055.0431111311591.800.98
2011Texas Rangers39020140044.0372322811434.501.09
2012Texas Rangers14010000017.018191746189.001.41
NPB Career 446373543278441669.0623280255791574913.431.17
MLB Career 53030140061.05542391217615.751.18


Yoshinori Tateyama was the Nippon Ham Fighters’ second round pick in the 1998 draft out of Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) of the industrial league. Even in his rookie year he was able to find a spot in the starting rotation, and pledged to donate some of his salary to a conservation park in Okinawa. Tateyama struggled through his sophomore and junior seasons, but was able to turn things around throwing out of the bullpen from 2002 on, getting full use out of his fastball, sinker and slider.
In 2004, he went from the closer’s role into more of a set-up position, where he contributed to the team’s Nippon Series championship in 2006. However, he attempted a return to the starting rotation the next year (in which the Fighters repeated as champs) but only made 7 starts due to injuries. These hurts continued to plague Tateyama the rest of his time with the Fighters, though in his final season, 2010, he was able to make 58 mound appearances. 
Tateyama exercised his international free agent rights at season’s end, and signed with the Texas Rangers. He started the 2011 season on the farm, but made his big league debut on May 24th against the White Sox. He recorded his first career save four days later and his first win on June 21st. Through August 23, he was having an excellent debut season, but things quickly fell apart after that. In fact, Tateyama became the second player in MLB history to allow grand slams to back-to-back hitters (obviously across two mound appearances). The 2012 season was one of ups and downs, in which Tateyama dominated AAA ball but could not find a spot on the top squad. He was released at season’s end but signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers for the 2013 season. He finished his injury-plagued stint with the Rangers without a final promotion to the majors, and was traded to the New York Yankees on June 21st. He spent the remainder of the season in the minors, putting up good numbers but not getting called up. Despite a good spring camp in 2014 with the Yankees, Tateyama struggled on the farm early, and was released on May 9th, Tateyama returned from America and was plucked up by Hanshin on June 25th.
He made his return to NPB action on July 31st (at Koshien vs. Yakult Swallows). He gave up 2 runs in 1 inning of work. Just seven relief appearances later, Tateyama was sent to the farm, and at season’s end, he announced his retirement. He became the first player to wear #53 after Norihiro Akahoshi announced his retirement prior to the 2010 season.Tateyama has remained in baseball as a commentator for Nikkan Sports and local Hokkaido game telecasts.
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