Monday, October 10, 2011

Card Of The Week October 9

A day late this week, but it works out.  Today (October 10) is the 42nd anniversary of the 400th and final victory in the career of Masaichi Kaneda.  Kaneda labored for 15 seasons with the Kokutetsu Swallows, running up a record of 353-267 for a team that finished in the bottom half of the standings every year but one (1961).  He won 20 games in a season 14 straight years (including two 30 win seasons) and lost 20 games in a season six times).  Imagine what kind of win totals he would have run up if he'd played for a good team all those years.  In his first spring training after joining the Giants in 1965, he broke his hand.  Not sure how much this affected him, but looking at his stats, he pitched a lot less in the five years he played for the Giants than he had for the Swallows.  Some of that might be that the Giants actually had other useful pitchers, which was not the case for the Swallows.

The Giants retired his number (#34).  Oddly enough, the Swallows did not, although that might be because Kokutetsu sold the team around the same time they traded him to Yomiuri.  Sankei and later Yakult may not have felt any connection to him.  Anyway, BBM did a subset for all retired numbers in their 2001 set and included a card of Kaneda (#534):

True Stories Of Korean Baseball had a translation of a Korean interview with Kaneda recently (Kaneda is actually Korean).  Part one is here and part two is here.

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