Masaichi Kaneda

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Masaichi Kaneda
金田 正一
Born: (1933-08-01) August 1, 1933 (age 81)
Heiwa, Nakashima, Aichi
Batted: Left Threw: Left
Professional debut
NPB: August 23, 1950 for the Kokutestu Swallows
Last professional appearance
1969 for the Yomiuri Giants
NPB statistics
Win–Loss 400–298
Earned run average 2.34
Strikeouts 4,490

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the Japanese
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Inducted 1988

Masaichi Kaneda (金田 正一 Kaneda Masaichi?, born August 1, 1933 in Heiwa, Aichi Prefecture, Japan) is a Japanese former professional baseball pitcher.[1] He is one of the best known pitchers in Japanese baseball history, and is the only Japanese pitcher to have won 400 games. He was inducted in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.[2]

Kaneda's was nicknamed "The Emperor" because he was the most dominant pitcher in Japan during his prime. He batted and threw left-handed.


His parents were Koreans[1] and his Korean name was Kim Kyung-Hong (金慶弘 김경홍). Kaneda was naturalized in Japan in 1959. His three younger brothers all played in the Japanese professional leagues. His son works as an actor, and his nephew, Akihito Kaneishi, also had considerable success as a professional baseball player. He has been married twice, and divorced once. He is known to have three children.

Kaneda quit high school in 1950, and joined the Kokutetsu Swallows (current Tokyo Yakult Swallows) in the middle of 1950. Kokutetsu Swallows were a very weak team in Japanese baseball. Kaneda quickly became recognized as the best pitcher in Japan for his fastball and trademark drop curve.

The speed gun was not introduced to Japan until after Kaneda had retired, but he himself claims that the velocity of his fastball reached 100 mph during his prime. In Kaneda's rookie year, player Masayasu Kaneda from the Hanshin Tigers complained that Kaneda's pitches were too fast because the mound was set too close to the batter's box. The game was stopped as the umpire measured the distance with a tape measure; the mound was found to be set the correct distance away from the batter's box.

However, Kaneda also had terrible control during the first few years of his career, walking over 190 batters in 1951 and 1952. Although his control got better as his career progressed, he eventually established the all-time Japanese record for walks. The only pitches he threw were his fastball and drop curve. He also developed an underhanded changeup during his later years. Kaneda's massive workload and overuse of his curve caused massive amounts of pain in his pitching arm during the last few years of his career.

Despite marking an ERA under 2.00 for many of his seasons with the team, Kaneda still lost over 10 games in his first 15 professional seasons, including six seasons where he lost 20 or more games. He managed to win 400 games despite being on a horrific team for most of his career. About 90% of his 400 wins came with the Swallows.

He pitched a no-hitter against the Hanshin Tigers in September, 1951, and a perfect game on August 21, 1957. This was the fourth perfect game in Japanese professional baseball history. In the 1958 season opener, Kaneda struck out the rookie Shigeo Nagashima in all four of his at bats. He did the same against Sadaharu Oh in Oh's first professional game.

In popular culture, the protagonist of the giant robot series, Tetsujin 28-go, is named after Kaneda.

Kaneda became a free agent, and joined the Yomiuri Giants in 1965. Kaneda contributed to the teams' nine-year league championship streak, and retired in 1969, after marking his 400th win. His jersey number, 34, was retired by the Giants in 1970.

Kaneda holds numerous career records in the Japanese leagues. Notable records include: complete games (365), wins (400), losses (298), strikeouts (4490), innings pitched (5,52623), and walks (1,808). He also has the most home runs of any Japanese pitcher (36), and is one of the few pitchers that has played in over 1,000 games. He led the league in strikeouts (10 times), wins (three times), ERA (three times), and won the Eiji Sawamura Award three times. He also held the record for career ejections (eight times), before being passed by Tuffy Rhodes in 2005.

Post retirement[edit]

Kaneda worked as a commentator before being called to manage the Lotte Orions (current Chiba Lotte Marines) from 1973 to 1978, and again from 1990 to 1991. His team won the Japanese championship series in 1974, with Kaneda's younger brother, Tomehiro, pitching for the Orions and winning the MVP award. The Orions used uniforms designed by Kaneda for 19 seasons. He created the Meikyukai club in 1978.

Career statistics[edit]

Played with the Kokutetsu Swallows from 1950 to 1964, Yomiuri Giants from 1965 to 1969.

  • 944 Games
  • 400 Wins
  • 298 Losses
  • 5,52623 Innings pitched
  • 4,490 Strikeouts
  • 2.34 ERA

Managerial statistics[edit]

Managed the Lotte Orions from 1973 to 1978, and 1990–1991.

  • 1,011 Games
  • 471 Wins
  • 468 Losses
  • 72 Ties
  • Japanese Championship Series Winner (1974)


  1. ^ a b Griggs, Lee (1963-08-19). "The Winningest Japanese". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  2. ^ Whiting, Robert, "Kawakami’s philosophy as manager never wavered", Japan Times, 28 November 2013, p. 16, retrieved 28 November 2013