Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Yuichi Honda

Yuichi Honda of the Hawks was another player who announced their retirement at the end of the season.  Honda was the fifth pick of the Hawks in the college/corporate league portion of the fall 2005 draft - he had been playing for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagoya which is obviously a corporate league team, not a college.  An injury during spring training in 2006 (Kazuhisa Ishii of the Swallows broke his wrist with a pitch) delayed his debut with the Hawks for half a season but he rapidly won the job as the regular second baseman for Softbank which he did not relinquish until a hand injury in mid-2014 cost him the remainder of the season.  Various injuries cut into his playing time over the next few seasons and he finally decided to retire.  He will be the Hawks ichi-gun infield coach next season.

Honda led the Pacific League in steals twice (2010 and 2011) and had 342 for his career which is the 21st most in NPB history.  His best season was 2011 when he hit .305, made his only All Star team, won his first Golden Glove award (he'd win another in 2012) and was named to the Best 9 team.  The Hawks have played in five Nippon Series during Honda's career but I think he only actually played in two of them - 2011 and 2014 (mostly as a pinch hitter).  He was on the team's roster in 2015 and 2017 but didn't play and wasn't on the roster in 2018.  He played for the Japan National Team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

His earliest BBM cards are #16 from the 2006 Rookie Edition set and #72 from the 2006 1st Version set.  His first Calbee card is #132 from the 2007 set.

2006 BBM Rookie Edition #16

2006 BBM 1st Version #72

2008 BBM Hawks 70th Anniversary #97

2011 BBM 1st Version #335

2011 BBM All Stars #A24

2012 BBM 1st Version #380

2013 Topps Tribute #71

2011 BBM Hawks 75th Anniversary - Fukuoka Legacy #22

2015 Calbee #091

2018 BBM 2nd Version #386

1 comment:

Sean said...

I'm sorry to see him retire, he was one of my favorite players to watch when I lived in Fukuoka. Great base runner.