Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Kenshi Sugiya

Kenshi Sugiya of the Fighters is another player who retired at the end of last season.  Sugiya was a six round pick for Nippon-Ham out of Teikyo High School in 2008.  

I don't really have a lot to say about Sugiya - he was never a star and really never a regular.  While he showed some promise early in his career - hitting .313 with the farm team as 19 year old in 2010 - he never could hit enough or stay healthy enough to crack the starting lineup.  He ended up basically being a super-sub - filling in both in the infield and the outfield as needed.  And always looking like he was having a hell of a lot of fun while doing it.

He spent a couple weeks with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League in 2018 but returned to the Fighters in time to join the team for their first part of Spring Training in Arizona.  I saw him homer against the KT Wiz at Salt River Fields At Talking Stick in Scottsdale - he ended up hitting home runs on three different continents that year - Australia, North America and Asia.

His first cards were in the 2009 BBM Rookie Edition (#017) and 1st Version (#107) sets.  He only appeared in four of BBM's flagship sets over the years - 2009 1st Version, 2013 2nd Version, 2016 1st Version and 2021 2nd Version.  His first Calbee card wasn't until #121 in the 2013 set and he only appeared in a total of five Calbee sets - every odd numbered year between 2013 and last year (he was on a checklist card in the 2021 set).  He was in all five of Epoch's NPB sets (2018-22).  He also made the 2017-18 Brisbane Bandits team set.  Here's some of his cards:

2009 BBM Rookie Edition #017

2009 BBM 1st Version #107

2012 BBM Nippon Series #S61

2013 BBM 2nd Version #430

2015 Fighters Playing Cards

2016 Pro Yakyuu AI Fighters #28

2017 BBM Fighters #F43

2017-18 Brisbane Bandits Team Set

2019 Calbee #157

2020 BBM Fighters #F44

2021 Epoch One #210

2022 Epoch NPB #375

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