Rookie Hits for Cycle in All Star Game

It is pretty tough to hit for the cycle in a normal baseball game, but in an All Star game it is even more difficult. Most players who play in an All Star game will not get enough at bats to complete the cycle. That did not happen to the Hansin Tigers rookie Koji Chikamoto, who hit for the cycle in the second All Star Game.

Japan plays two All Star games. In the first game the Pacific League beat the Central League 6-3. Tomoya Mori hit a two run homerun in the second inning and Hideto Asamura and Hotaka Yamakawa went back to back with solo shots in the sixth to give the Central League a 4-1 lead. They went on to win the game 6-3 with both teams tacking on two runs in the ninth. Koji Chikamoto entered that game as a pinch runner and went 0 for 1 in the game.

Game two was a little different. Koji got things stared for the Central League with a lead off homerun in the bottom of the first. That made him the first rookie in Japan to ever lead the game off with a homerun in an All Star game.

The Central League then pulled away from the Pacific League with three homeruns in the second inning, hit by Tigers Fumihito Haraguchi, who led off the second inning with a homerun followed by his Tigers teammate Ryutaro Umeno who hit the first pitch he saw in the game for a homerun. Future major leaguer Yoshitomo Tsutsuhgoh, now of the Yokohama Bar Stars slugged a two run homerun and the Central League had a commanding 8-0 lead after two.

Chikamoto slugged a double in the second and added a single in the third inning to get three quarters of the way to a cycle with six innings to play. He hit another double in the fifth inning to go 4 for 4. Myworld may have tried to stretch that double into a triple to complete the cycle then. In the seventh he completed his cycle with a triple to finish the All Star game 5 for 5. The Central League also ended a five game losing streak to the Pacific League with an 11-3 win.

The only other player to hit for the cycle in an All Star game was Hall of Fame catcher for the Yakult Swallows Atsuya Furuta back in 1992.

While playing high school ball Chikamoto never played in the Koshien tournament. He played college ball, initially trying to make it as a pitcher, but finally settling on an outfielder role after arm injuries stunted his pitching development. None of the Japanese teams drafted him after college and he went on to play in the Industrial Leagues.

In the Industrial Leagues Chikamoto led his team to the championship hitting .524 resulting in him being voted the most valuable player in the league. In the 2018 draft the Hanshin Tigers selected Chikamoto as the third alternative pick during the first round after they lost the lottery picks for two other players. He made the team out of spring training and hit .268 with six homeruns and 20 stolen bases to make the All Star game. His 50 runs scored are tops on the Hanshin Tigers.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.