Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tanaka to Memphis with #1 pick

Jin-Chi Tanaka was chosen with the top overall selection in the Season 9 draft by the Memphis Shores. Tanaka, a high school pitcher with a nasty curveball has a high ceiling, but a long way to go to reach his potential according to Shores scouting director E.H. Crump III. "Jin-Chi is still learning the American game, but he's got an easy arm-action, a big 12-6 curveball, and ability throw deep in games." Tanaka is also an excellent athelete, playing 3B for his high school team in Northborough, MA when he didn't pitch.

Tanaka was born in Honolulu Hawaii. His father, former (and sometimes current) AWA and WWF wrestler Pat Tanaka. You may remember Tanaka as one half two famous tag teams. First, Badd Company (with Paul Diamond) in the AWA and later as one half of the Orient Express, managed by Mr. Fuji. The team is best remembered for losing to Hacksaw Jim Dugan and Nikolai Volkoff in Summer Slam 1990.

Jin-Chi moved from Hawaii to Mempis just before starting school. The stay in Memphis was a brief one, but Jin-Chi has fond memories of the city from the late 1980's. "I'm excited to go back to Memphis, I remember it as a beatiful city with great BBQ." A few years later, the family moved to Northborough, MA. Northborough is located in central Massachusetts, just North of Westbourough but just west of Southborough (crazy Massachusettsians).

Coincidently, Northbourough's most famous resident is former Detroit Tiger pitcher, Mark "the Bird" Fidrych. The Bird, a 10th round pick, famously threw 7 no-hit innings in his major league debut, winning a 2-hitter. He would win 19 games, post a 2.34 ERA, win the rookie of the year, and finish 2nd in Cy Young voting in 1976. Fidrych's season including back-to-back 11 inning complete games. Perhaps due to the overwork, the Bird was injured in the 1977 season, attempted several comebacks, but never was a force again, retiring in 1981. He was not diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff until 1985. After going 19-9 in 29 starts in 1976, Fidrych made just 27 more starts going 10-10.

The Shores can only hope that Tanaka avoides the pitfalls that befell the last Northborough resident to burst onto the baseball scene. Tanaka has not yet signed and is represented by Ernest Norton.

No comments: