Professional Japanese baseball
player and one of the first position players to play in the Major Leagues
in North America
. In Japan
, he is usually just referred to by his last name, Shinjo, but also has a few nicknames like "the prince" and "uchujin
Birthdate: January 28, 1972
Birthplace: Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan (some of the best green tea made in Japan is from Yame City!)
1990-2000 Hanshin Tigers
2001 New York Mets
2002 San Francisco Giants
2003 New York Mets
Awards include (in Japan):
2 times picked as a member of the best 9 (1993, 2000)
7 time golden glove award winner (1993, 94, 96, 97, 98, 99, 2000)
4 time all-star member (1994, 97, 99, 2000)
Tsuyoshi Shinjo was THE STAR for the perennial underdog Hanshin Tigers, arguably the worst, yet almost most popular team in professional Japanese baseball. Shinjo became an icon among Hanshin fans after he hit a game-winning homerun on the first pitch of his first plate appearance.
After the 2000 season, Shinjo declared free agency and most fans felt that he had betrayed Hanshin for more money and a move to another Central League team. However, it came as a surprise to everyone that he announced his intentions to play in the big leagues as he signed with the New York Mets.
At first everyone laughed at Shinjo because they thought he couldn't make it in the US. Others also felt that he was riding on and ruining the opportunity for Ichiro who had moved to the Seattle Mariners and trying just to get in on some of excitement being built up. He has always been know to like that sort of attention in the media. However,
as he as exceeded expectations, he has become the focus of national attention in Japan with his performances thus far.