I thought I'd try to pass the time until the beginning of the season by doing a series of posts on the top 15 career home run leaders in NPB. I'm using Japan Baseball Daily's Data Warehouse as my source (as usual). I'll try to post a new one each week.
First up, Tomoaki Kanemoto with 421 home runs during his career with the Carp and Tigers. Kanemoto is one of only two active players on the list.
1994 Takara Hiroshima Carp (rookie):
1995 BBM #365:
1999 Calbee # 102:
2002 BBM 1st Version Prime Time Player Insert (#PP4). The scan may not make it obvious, but the card is 3-D (like Sportsflicks or the old Kelloggs 3-D cards from the 70's):
Following the 2002 season, Kanemoto joined Hanshin and helped lead them to their first Nippon Series since 1985 which they lost in 7 games to the Hawks. Kanemoto only had 5 hits in the Series (hitting .192), but four of those hits were home runs. He won the "Fighting Spirit" award for the Series (basically MVP for the losing team). This is his "regular" card from the 2003 BBM Nippon Series set (#50):
2004 BBM Tigers #T90 (from "The Face" subset):
In 2005, the Kanemoto helped the Tigers to another berth in the Nippon Series (and ultimately another loss). He ended up winning the Central League MVP award that season. Here's the 2006 BBM 1st Version leader card that commemorates this (#434):