Sunday, November 15, 2015


Kazuisha Ishii came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Jason Phillips on March 20, 2005. The left handed pitcher from Chiba, Japan was brought in to serve as the fifth starter in the rotation. "If he's your fifth starter, geez," Met pitching coach Rick Peterson said the day after the trade. "That's not a fifth starter, by any means." Kaz had shown lapses of control with the Dodgers. "He loses his mechanics sometimes and can't throw the ball where he wants to. He'll get spells of that," Los Angeles pitching coach Jim Colborn explained. "His style, one needs a lot of patience to allow him to win his games because the  way he does it can be nerve-wracking - that's the best word."

Kaz made his Mets debut starting the third game of the 2005 season at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. He would pitch 6-2/3 innings and allow six runs during the 6-1 loss to the Reds on April 7th. Ishii's next start would come at Shea Stadium opposing Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros on April 13th. Kaz pitched masterfully holding the visitors scoreless during his seven innings of work allowing only two hits. Clemens matched his performance and the game was decided by the bullpens in the eventual 1-0 Mets victory.

Ishii got his first Mets victory on April 28th in Florida. Kaz took a shutout into the seventh inning and drove in the first run with a base hit off Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis in the 6-1 win. Ishii kept the game ball and said he planned to turn it over to his wife Ayako Kisa (a japanese television host) as a present after forgetting her birthday a few days earlier.

The lefty would continue to pitch inconsistently over the remainder of the 2005 season. He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on August 7th, and only returned when rosters expanded at the start of the next month. He finished with a 3-9 record and 5.14 ERA in 19 games for New York. His first 16 appearances were all starts, but the final three came from the bullpen in September. The Mets granted him his release on December 19, 2005.

Kaz returned to pitch in Japan for the Central League's Yakult Swallows in 2006. He joined the Saitama Seibu Lions in 2008, and announced his retirement from baseball on September 24, 2013.

I made Kaz Ishii's card in the set from an autographed index card signed for a collector at Shea Stadium during the 2005 season.

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