Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Masaichi Kaneda

I am writing this in Maryland, USA where it is July 31.  Currently in Japan, it is August 1.  Today, July 31, 2013 is my father's 80th birthday.  Today, August 1, 2013, is also the 80th birthday of the great Japanese (well, actually ethnically Korean) pitcher Masaichi Kaneda.  I'm not sure what time of day either of them was born but it amuses me to think that they could have been born at the exact same moment but in different days due to the differences in time zones.

Since I have no baseball cards of my father, I thought I would share some of Kaneda.  Kaneda pitched for the Kokutetsu Swallows from 1950 to 1964 then moved to the Giants for the final five years of his career (which coincided with the first five years of the Giants V9 years).  His years with the Giants coincides with the lean years of baseball cards in Japan - after the end of menko (1964) and before the beginning of Calbee (1973).  The only contemporary card of him with the Giants appears to be his 1967 Kabaya-Leaf card (which I don't have).  I do have a couple menko cards from his years with the Swallows:

1958 Marusan JCM 42

1961 Marusan JCM 12c
Following his playing career, Kaneda managed the Lotte Orions on two separate occasions - from 1973 to 1978 and again from 1990 to 1991.  He won the Japan Series in 1974 over the Chunichi Dragons.

1991 BBM #66
Kaneda owns the career records for strikeouts (4490), wins (400) and complete games (365).  Also losses (298) and walks (1808).  As you might expect from someone who pitched so long, he also has pitched the most innings (16,580 5526.2).  He finished his career one shutout behind Victor Starffin for the lead (83 for Starffin, 82 for Kaneda).

1995 BBM #326

1996 BBM #327
Kaneda has the oddest collection of cards for any Japanese Hall Of Famer.  There really just aren't that many of them.  It doesn't look like he has EVER had a Calbee card - the years in the 1970's when he was managing Lotte and Calbee was making huge sets that had all the managers were also the years when Calbee wasn't printing any cards of Lotte team members.  As a result, there's just a couple NST cards and a Broder card that show him as Orions manager.  1991, BBM's first year, was his last year as manager so there's just the one BBM card of him as manager.  He never showed up in any of the "Nostalgic Stars" subsets that BBM did in the 1990's - just the two "Untouchable Records" cards from 1995 and a "50's Best Players" subset card from the 1999 set.  His only other appearance in a BBM flagship set was his card in the 2001 "Retired Uniform Number" subset.

He also appeared in an OB subset in a box set BBM did for the Marines in 1997.

His appearances in BBM's historic sets has been very limited.  He appeared in BBM's very first OB set - 1994's "Perfect Pitching" that commemorated all the perfect games ever thrown in Japan.  He also appeared in the 1999 "Mr Giatns" set for Shigeo Nagashima.  He had four cards (like everyone else) in the 2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 set but apparently BBM did not get his permission to appear in the set so none of his cards actually have a picture on it (neither do the cards of Warren Cromartie and Hideo Nomo):

2000 BBM 20th Century Best 9 #008
Kaneda has continued to be conspicuously absent from BBM's OB sets.  He did not appear in several sets where he might have been expected - the 2004 "Golden Arms", the 2004 Pro Baseball 70th Anniversary, the 2004 Giants 70th Anniversary or the 2006 Nostalgic Baseball sets.  The only two of the annual "Historic Collection" sets that he has appeared in are the 2002 "All Time Heroes" and the 2013 "Great Numbers" sets:

2002 BBM All Time Greats #055

2013 BBM Great Numbers #136
He did appear in the 2009 Legend Players set (for the 60th Anniversary of the two league system) and the 2012 No-hitters set.  And I should not fail to mention that BBM did a 34 card box set for him a few years ago.

Thanks much to the Japanese Baseball Database for Kaneda's career stats and to Jason Presley for the great work he has done adding cards to the database at Sports Card Forum for the information on what cards Kaneda's had since the late 1960's.

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