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Old 05-22-2018, 12:58 PM
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Default Kimiyasu Kudoh

I'm more interested in the older cards, but Kudoh is also a hall of famer, so he gets his moment in the sun (I'm sure he's thrilled by the honor).

Kimiyasu Kudoh was a star pitcher for a bunch of teams from 1982 to 2010. That's right, 29 years. If I lived in Japan, I suspect that he'd be one of my favorite players. I love players who have strange careers, and a 29 year career counts. Kudoh appeared in the Japan Series 14 times, and although he won an MVP award he never won the Sawamura award. He first rose to prominence with the Seibu Lions, leaving in 1994 as a 31 year old. He would return in 2010 to pitch his final season (well, his final six innings) at age 47. I suspect that this was a sentimental, "retire as a Lion" sort of thing. Despite the exceptionally long career, he accumulated only about 3300 innings pitched (fewer than Smoltz pitched, even though Kudoh's career was eight years longer). In part this is due to the shorter Japanese season, and in part to the fact that he spent both the beginning and the end of his career as a reliever. He was a good fielder (and gold glove winner) but a hilariously inept batter. He was 22 for 272 for his career, a .081 batting average. 224-142 W/L record more than makes up for it though.
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