Who is Junji Ogawa?

You may be asking yourself, who is this man managing the Swallows right now? A quick Google search of his name in English reveals nothing but articles on Takada’s stepping aside. A Japanese Google search doesn’t reveal too much more than rehashes of his Wikipedia entry, but for those of you who don’t read Japanese, I’ve summarized the information into a quick biography of the man.

Who is this man?

Junji Ogawa was born on August 30, 1957 in Narashino, Chiba. In the summer of 1975, Ogawa lead Narashino High School to the Japanese High School Baseball Championship as the school’s ace pitcher. Narashino won the Championship partly on the strength of Ogawa’s 3 straight complete games.

After high school, Ogawa moved onto Chuo University where he became an outfielder. He compiled a career statline of 80 hits on 351 at bats, with 5 homeruns and 39 RBIs, in over 98 Tohto league games. After a short stint with the Kawai Musical Instruments baseball team in the Industrial Leagues, Ogawa was drafted in the 4th round of the 1981 draft by the Yakult Swallows.

Ogawa immediately cracked the active roster, but never really advancing beyond the position of  spot starter. A close look at his season-by-season stats reveals Ogawa to be a low average hitter, with some power, and slightly above average strikeout rate. He was also known for having a solid glove in left field. Ogawa managed to stay on with the Swallows until after the 1991 season, when he was traded to the Nippon Ham Fighters. After, one season with the Fighters, Ogawa retired as a player. In his 11 seasons in Japanese Professional Baseball, Ogawa played in 940 games compiling an average of .236 with 66 homeruns and 195 RBIs. He managed to hit at least 2 homeruns every season of his career, with a season high of 11 which he accomplished 3 times (1984, 1985, 1987). All in all, a very unspectacular career.

After his retirement in 1992, Ogawa did stuff for a couple of years. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on Ogawa’s life between 1992 and 1996. In 1996, Ogawa rejoined the Yakult Swallows franchise as a fielding and baserunning coach of the Yakult Swallows’ farm team. In 1999, Ogawa was promoted to manager of the farm team, when then-manager Yukio Yaegashi was promoted to the main team when Tsutomu Wakamatsu took over the reigns. Ogawa managed the farm team until 2008, when he was elevated to first team head coach when Shigeru Takada was brought in to manage the team. Ogawa is now the acting manager of the team, but there is very little information out there on what to expect of Ogawa as manager.

Random Information and Rumors

  • Ogawa is a big man, he stands 186 cm tall, and weighs 93 kilos.
  • Ogawa is remembered among Swallows fans for his fight song which was based on the Indiana Jones theme.
  • Ogawa is allegedly married to a woman who used to work at Korakuen stadium.
  • Ogawa is apparently a very serious and stubborn man.
  • Finally, the piece of information you all wanted to know… Ogawa’s blood type is A.

The probably temporary Junji Ogawa era kicked off on a high note with a not loss. Let’s see what more we can learn about the man before the end of the season.

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he’s not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.