Japanese baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Masaichi Kaneda, whose 400 wins are the most in the country’s pro baseball history, died Sunday morning in a Tokyo hospital of acute cholangitis at the age of 86.
Kaneda, who turned pro in 1950 before he was 17, had a 20-year career. He spent the first 15 with the lowly Kokutetsu Swallows before joining the Yomiuri Giants as a free agent in 1965, the year the Giants won the first of nine-straight Japan Series championships.
A fiery competitor, 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 No. 34 he wore with Yomiuri has been retired.
After he retired, Kaneda twice managed the Pacific League’s Lotte Orions, first from 1973 to 1978, winning the Japan Series in 1974. He returned to the Lotte dugout from 1990 to 1991.
Even as a manager, Kaneda was famous for getting into scraps with both opposing players and heckling fans.
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