Sunday, April 9, 2017

Card Of The Week April 9

On Friday Carp rookie pitcher Takuya Kato made his NPB debut and nearly threw a no-hitter - the Swallows didn't get their first hit off of him until there was one out in the ninth.  Only one pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter in their NPB debut - Shinichi Kondoh of the Dragons did it on August 9, 1987.

Kondoh was the first round pick of the Dragons in the fall 1986 draft.  His no-hitter was all the more astounding as he was just 18 years old at the time and he threw it against the Giants, who would go on to win the Central League pennant that season.  Unfortunately for Kondoh this was not a sign of great things to come - he would develop shoulder and elbow issues during the 1988 season, missed the entire 1989 season due to surgery and ended his playing career after the 1993 season at the age of 25 with a career record of 12-17 in 52 games.  Kondoh would later become a coach for the Dragons and is currently their ichi-gun pitching coach.  His son Hiroki is an outfielder for the Dragons.

Here's a 1987 Calbee card of Kondoh (#204) that I think shows him acknowledging the crowd at Nagoya Stadium after the game.  This is one of the rare instances when a rookie player got a baseball card in the pre-BBM era - generally players would not get baseball cards until they had been in the league a few years and had proved themselves:

Only one MLB pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter in their MLB debut - Bumpus Jones of the Reds no-hit the Pirates on October 15, 1892.  Jones also didn't have much of a career afterwards - he went 2-4 in only eight appearances in a two year career.

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