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Monday, October 07, 2019

Japan’s all-time wins leader Masaichi Kaneda dies at 86

the lefty was known for his fastball and big breaking curve, and won at least 20 games for 14 consecutive seasons starting from 1951.

In addition to the most wins in Nippon Professional Baseball, Kaneda owned career records with 365 complete games, 298 losses, 5,526⅔ innings pitched, 1,808 walks and 4,490 strikeouts.

 

The passing of a legend.  Masaichi Kaneda at BB-Ref.
https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=kaneda002mas

His best year was at age 24 in 1958: 31-14, 1.30 ERA, 11 SHO, 25 GF, 332 IP.

DanG Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:19 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: japanese baseball, masaichi kaneda, yomiuri giants

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   1. DanG Posted: October 07, 2019 at 09:07 PM (#5887675)
Some people rate Kaneda the top pitcher in NPB history, certainly one of the top five. Jim Albright wrote this summary:
He won three Best Nines and three Sawamuras spread over 4 different seasons. He won 30 or more twice, and 20 or more in 14 consecutive seasons, frequently for awful clubs. All in all, he finished with 400 wins, the most in Japanese baseball history. He led in strikeouts 10 times and has the most career strikeouts by a pitcher, 4490. He led in ERA 3 times and was in the top 10 in that category 8 times. He was a true workhorse, pitching 300 or more innings in 14 consecutive years on his way to the most innings pitched in NPB at 5526.2 innings. He served the Swallows as an ace starter/relief ace, pitching in at least 1/3 of his team’s games every year from 1951 to 1963, occasionally as many as half his team's games. He also pitched two no hitters in his career, one of them a perfect game. His 82 shutouts are second most in Japanese baseball history. He had 103 games of 10 or more strikeouts and a 64.1 inning streak without a run scored against him.
From 1955 through 1958, he pitched at least 332 innings each year, and his ERA never exceeded 1.78!

Here's a brief biography of "The Emperor", Masaichi Kaneda.
   2. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5887908)
"Some people"?!? Is there really any competition?

Other candidates:

Masaaki Koyama: 4899 Innings, 2.45 ERA (1953-1973, important because Japanese contexts can be so extreme), 3159 Ks

Victor Starfin: 4175 innings, 2.09 ERA (1936-1955, extremely low run environment), 1960 Ks

Keishi Suzuki: 4600 innings, 3.11 ERA (1966-1985, let's get someone modern in here), 3061 Ks

Takehiko Bessho: 4350 innings, 2.18 ERA (1942-1960), 1934 Ks

Compare these guys to Kaneda: 5526 innings, 2.34 ERA (1950-1969), 4490 Ks

Kenda holds basically all of the counting stat records for pitchers. And even on rate he's really really good. I wish I knew where to find context neutral stats for Japan. I'd love to know what his ERA+ was compared to, say, Starfin's. Early Japanese baseball was an extremely low scoring affair. I clicked on the fall 1938 season, for example, and found this line for the league: 219/319/293. This nonsense continued into the 50s. Here's the 1955 Central League: 236/287/331. At least SLG is higher than OBP, but they're not going to score many runs there. (Compare 1906 AL: 249/303/318.)
   3. ajnrules Posted: October 08, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5887923)
And then there’s Tetsuya Yoneda, who is second in the NPB wins lost, 50 behind Kaneda: 5130 innings, 2.91 ERA (1956-1977), 3388 Ks. Kaneda blows him out of the water too.

Anyways I tried researching the Japanese 300-game winners at one point. My Japanese isn’t good enough to go really in-depth, but I did find this nifty article in Sports Illustrated about Kaneda. They compared him to Warren Spahn (probably because they’re both lefties) but I think of him like a Japanese Cy Young.

RIP
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 08, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5887941)
Victor Starfin: 4175 innings, 2.09 ERA (1936-1955, extremely low run environment), 1960 Ks
I had never heard of Victor Starffin, and, wondering how a guy with that name ended up pitching for 20 years in midcentury NPB, looked him up - what an interesting story.
   5. depletion Posted: October 08, 2019 at 08:53 PM (#5888122)
I have a chuckle over the complete game stats for Kaneda and the Russian Starfin (who deftly avoided the Western front of the USSR and getting bombed in Tokyo): 360 and 350. There were 45 CG in 2019 over all MLB.
   6. DanG Posted: October 08, 2019 at 09:30 PM (#5888143)
"Some people"?!? Is there really any competition?
The aforementioned Jim Albright, who has worked a great deal on analyzing Japanese players, has these as his top-ranked NPB pitchers:

1 Victor Starffin
2 Jiro Noguchi
3 Kazuhisa Inao
4 Takehiko Bessho
5 Masaichi Kaneda
   7. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 09, 2019 at 01:17 AM (#5888178)
Anyways I tried researching the Japanese 300-game winners at one point. My Japanese isn’t good enough to go really in-depth, but I did find this nifty article in Sports Illustrated about Kaneda. They compared him to Warren Spahn (probably because they’re both lefties) but I think of him like a Japanese Cy Young.


From the linked article:
"On the mound Kaneda looks thoroughly professional. He pitches rapidly and shakes his left wrist between pitches to keep it loose. Each inning he starts his warmup routine by strolling halfway back to second base and beginning his warmups from there with long hard throws, advancing a few feet for each pitch until, after three throws, he has reached the mound."
I'm certain I've never seen or heard of any other big-league pitcher doing this.
   8. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:31 AM (#5888213)
Wow Victor Starfinn had a fascinating life.

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