Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tomoyuki Kubota

Pitcher Tomoyuki Kubota announced his retirement back in October.  Kubota had appeared in 11 seasons in NPB, all with the Hanshin Tigers.  He was drafted in the fifth round of the fall 2002 draft by Hanshin and began his career as a starter.  He was fairly quickly moved to the bullpen and was the team's closer in 2005 when they won the Central League.  He was the "K" part of the "JFK" bullpen for Hanshin, along with Jeff Williams and Kyuji Fujikawa.  He lost the closer role to Fujikawa during the 2006 season and moved into a middle relief role, leading the league in "Hold Points" in both 2007 and 2008.  In 2007 he set a record for most appearances in a season by making it into 90 games, exceeding the existing record by 10 games.  Injuries decimated several of his later seasons - he only made one appearance at the ichi-gun level in 2009 (a start that he only lasted 2 1/3 inning of), four appearances in 2012 and no appearances at all in 2014.

Kubota made the All Star team twice in 2007 and 2008 and he played in one Nippon Series (in 2005 - despite being on the Tigers in 2003, he did not appear in their Series against the Hawks).  He apparently was on the Team Japan roster for the 2006 WBC but he did not appear in any games (which makes me wonder if he really was on the roster).

His rookie card was #117 in the 2003 BBM 1st Version set.  He also had a draft pick card in the 2003 BBM Rookie Edition set (#28).  His first Calbee card was in the 2005 set (#141).  He has not had a card in any of BBM's flagship sets since 2011.

2003 BBM Rookie Edition #28

2003 BBM 1st Version #117

2005 BBM Nippon Series #34

2006 BBM Tigers #T086

2008 BBM 1st Version #468

2008 BBM All Stars #A05

2009 BBM 1st Version #459

2011 BBM 2nd Version #585

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