The Heisei Period will be drawing to a close in a few months and I got curious about something. One of the original prerequisites for a player joining the Meikyukai (or "Golden Players Club") is that the player was born during the Showa Period which ended in 1988 (although I think the Japanese wikipedia page for the club says that players born in the Heisei Period will now be eligible). No one born in the Heisei Period had reached the milestones necessary for Meikyukai membership (2000 hits, 200 win or 250 saves) yet but I got curious about who was the closest. I just looked at hitters and I did it very unscientifically - I basically guessed at who might be the right age and have the most hits. The first batch of players I thought of (Yuki Yanagita, Shogo Akiyama, Hayato Sakamoto) all turned out to have been born during the Showa Period (Sakamoto was born about three weeks from the end of the Period). I'm not positive but I think the right answer is Ryosuke Kikuchi of the Carp who has 974 hits. Here's a card of Kikuchi from the 2012 Front Runner Carp Starting Lineup set (#16):
I don't know remember where I read this but I'm pretty sure the Showa Period birthday requirement was specifically instituted to exclude Tetshuharu Kawakami from being able to join. Apparently club founder Masaichi Kaneda (the 400 game winner for the Swallows and Giants) didn't like Kawakami much and wanted to keep him out.