Friday, December 30, 2011

Kimiyasu Kudoh

It is with heavy heart that I write this post.  After not pitching for the 2011 season, Kimiyasu Kudoh, the last NBP player older than me, announced his retirement a few weeks ago after a discussion with DeNA, the new owners of the Baystars, about possibly becoming their manager (they ultimately went in a different direction with Kiyoshi Nakahata).  As Jamie Moyer didn't pitch in the majors in 2011 either, it's possible that I am now older than every MLB and NBP player.  At least until Julio Franco makes a comeback...

Anyway, this post is about Kudoh and not me.  Kudoh was drafted by the Seibu Lions in November of 1981 and debuted with them the following season.  It would be a very good time to be a Seibu Lion - they would make the Japan Series 11 of the 13 seasons that Kudoh spent in Saitama (through 1994), winning 8 of them.  Following the 1994 season, he left as a free agent to join the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (reuniting with former Lion teammate Koji Akiyama who had joined the Hawks the previous year).  He spent the next five seasons with them, winning another Japan Series in his final season in a Hawks uniform, 1999.  He then joined the Yomiuri Giants (his favorite team growing up), reuniting with yet another former Lions teammate Kazuhiro Kiyohara.  He won two more Japan Series with the Giants - 2000 (against the Hawks team he had just left) and 2002 (against his other former team the Lions).  He remained with the Giants until the 2007 season when he joined the Yokohama Baystars.  After three years with the Baystars he returned to the Lions for what turned out to be his final season in 2010.

Here's cards of Kudoh with each of his teams over the years:

1983 Calbee #580

1995 BBM #189

2001 Upper Deck #70

2007 BBM 2nd Version #674

2010 BBM 1st Version #339

Kudoh finished his career with a record of 224-142.  Although he never won the Sawamura Award, he was named Pacific League MVP twice - in 1993 and 1999 and Best Pitcher in 2000.  He also won three Gold Gloves (1994, 1995, 2000) and made three Best 9 teams (1987, 1993, 2000).

1994 BBM Leaders MVP #265

I was kind of surprised that in a 29 year career, he only made the All Star team 10 times - 1986-1987, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999-2000, 2004-2005.

2005 BBM All Stars # A51

He ultimately ended up pitching in 14 Nippon Series with three different teams, winning 11 times. He was the MVP of the Series in 1986 and 1987. He also won an "Outstanding Player" award in the 1991 and 1999 Series.

2000 BBM Nippon Series #S12

In 2009, he broke Katsuya Nomura's record by appearing in his 28th NBP season and extended that record in 2010 to 29 seasons.

2010 BBM 20th Anniversary # 252

1 comment:

Tomomi said...

He was a great pitcher. I have always adored him.