Thursday, October 16, 2014

Makoto Kaneko

Makoto Kaneko was a third round pick of the Fighters in the November, 1993 draft out of Joso Gakuin High School.  He made his NPB debut in 1995 and became the Fighters regular second baseman in 1996.  His BBM rookie card was #511 in the 1994 BBM set.  His next BBM card wouldn't be until the 1996 Diamond Heroes set.  His first Calbee card was #011 in the 1997 set.

1997 BBM #303

1999 Calbee #122

2001 Upper Deck #132

He shifted to shortstop in 2002.  Fighters manager Trey Hillman named him team captain in 2007, the season after the Fighters had won the Nippon Series for the first time since 1962.

2004 BBM 1st Version #143 Facsimile Autograph Parallel

2010 Calbee #052

2013 BBM 1st Version #177
Kaneko started losing playing time over the last several years, falling victim to age and injury.  He last played over 100 games at ichi-gun in 2012 (although with only 311 plate appearances).  He only made it into 32 ichi-gun games in 2013 and only 15 this past season.  He did not make it into any of either BBM or Calbee's flagship sets this past year, so his last flagship card was the above 2013 BBM 1st Version card.

Kaneko never lead the league in any major category, but he was the Pacific League Rookie Of The Year in 1996.  Coincidentally, the Central League Rookie Of The Year that year, Toshihisa Nishi of the Giants, had gone to the same high school as Kaneko.

1997 BBM #27
Kaneko made the Pacfic League All Star team three times in his career - 2002, 2004 & 2009.  He played in four Nippon Series, winning it all in 2006 and coming up short in 2007, 2009 and 2012.

2004 BBM All Stars #A59

2012 BBM Nippon Series #S54
One other highlight of Kaneko's career is that in 2009 he set a record by doubling in seven consecutive games.  This was one of the "Historic Highlights" for the Fighters in BBM's Fighters 10th Season In Hokkaido set from 2013:

2013 BBM Fighters 10th Season In Hokkaido #82

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