Shisa Announce ‘Dracula Night’

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Updated: October 19, 2015

Shiba Taguchi, Ryukyu Sports News

Naha, OkinawaJuly 1, 2022: The Shisa have announced that Wednesday, August 17th will be Dracula Night in honor of former Shisa player Ton ‘Dracula’ Nakamura at Shisa Stadium. “The timing feels right,” says Okinawa General Manager Morris Ragland. The Okinawa front office acknowledges that the move is in part a reaction to the announcement by the Cliff Hangers that they would be honoring former player Masaharu Inoue earlier in the month during a series with Shisa. The Nakamura trade is one of the more infamous among the Shisa fan base, involving a move of big name talent to the Evas, but that was twelve years ago, and Shisa management is betting that the wounds have healed enough that the fans can celebrate Nakamura rather than mourn his loss to the team.

For the occasion, the third game in a series with old Bright Blade Group rival Lupin, the Shisa will be wearing throwback home uniforms of the Magami Akos, the uniform Dracula wore when he first joined the ball club in 2007, also the franchise’s inaugural season. The team would later change its name to the ‘Naha Shisa’ in 2010, Nakamura’s final year with the team.

Dracula Nakamura remains the Shisa franchise leader in career slugging percentage (.588), career OPS (.947), home runs in a single season (48 in 2009), career home runs (157), and RBI in a single season (121 in 2008). Nakamura appeared in 518 games over the course of three-plus seasons. Despite these excellent individual performances, the Ako and Shisa teams Nakamura played for never reached the post-season, and their best season was in 2010, when the Shisa finished 74-70, in third place in the BBG.

In the winter of 2010, the Shisa traded away two of their best players to Shin Seiki in a rebuilding move: Dracula Nakamura (22.8 career WAR in LRS after 2010) and closer Cristián Rosado (who had accumulated 29 saves and a 1.91 ERA in 42 appearances the year before, and had a career WAR of 3.7 in the LRS and PEBA after 2010). In return, the Shisa received Shin Seiki’s first round pick, with which they drafted current second baseman Gigolo Komatsu (17.7 career WAR in the LRS and PEBA after 2010); Shin Seiki’s second round pick, with which they drafted former catcher Yo Horiuchi (27 career WAR in LRS and PEBA after 2010); pitcher Leon Fernandez (6.9 career WAR in the LRS after 2010); pitcher Shiba Kamida (career -1.2 WAR in the LRS after 2010); and pitcher Naomichi Nakagawa (22.5 career WAR in the LRS and PEBA after 2010).

This is a trade largely decried by the Shisa fanbase, seeing it as proof that the Okinawa franchise has historically been victimized in trades with crafty Shin Seiki. Dracula was an uncommon slugger and a valuable property, accumulating 389 home runs in a 13-year career spent entirely in the LRS playing 144-game seasons, but he would turn thirty in 2011 and his peak year had already come and gone, though his 2011 numbers were mighty fine (42 home runs, and .984 OPS). Looking at the tally of future WAR given up for future WAR gained in this trade shows that Naha gave up a cumulative future WAR of 26.5, and gained a cumulative future WAR of 72.9. With respect to future contributions to their respective teams, this was indeed a one-sided trade, in the Shisa’s favor, but this was a long-term move that required both patience and luck. Such an outcome could not have been foreseen when the trade was consummated, but it could certainly be hoped for.

The Evas hardly got fleeced in this deal. They received immediate production from Nakamura, who would be a key part of their offense for the championship team in 2013. But in 2014, Shin Seiki found itself on the other end of an unpopular Nakamura trade when they shipped him to Hyakujuu for very well-compensated on-base machine Jon Wood in the middle of the season. A move that would help to propel the Evas to their first 100 win season in team history, but would not yield a championship. Rosado would give the Evas a couple of good years, but his value to the club would come primarily from posting fees collected when he moved to West Virginia in 2013.

The key pieces of this trade for the Shisa, Nakagawa and the two draft picks, which became Komatsu and Horiuchi, were not LRS-ready. This was definitely a case of delayed gratification for the Naha organization. Nakagawa would not make his first appearance for the Shisa until three years later in 2013 (4 games). Horiuchi would make his LRS debut in 2014, and Komatsu would be called up in 2015. The three would play well for the Shisa, helping to lead the team to six consecutive Wasei Junkesshou appearances from 2015-2020. It’s time to put a stake in the fan theories regarding the Dracula trade.