Makoto Kaneko (金子 誠)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- High School Joso Gakuin High School
By 1996, the 20-year-old had won the starting second base job for Nippon Ham, hitting .261/.307/.337 with a team-high 15 steals in 17 tries. He led the Pacific League in sacrifice hits (38) and was named the PL Rookie of the Year. Oddly, the Central League Rookie of the Year, Toshihisa Nishi, had gone to the same high school as Kaneko.
Kaneko batted .277/.338/.390 in 1997 with a career-high (through 2008) 12 home runs. He fielded .985 and led the circuit's second sackers in fielding percentage. He hit .263/.336/.332 in 1998 and fielded .986, leading the league's second basemen. He won a Gold Glove.
Makoto's batting line in 1999 was .274/.336/.351. He won another Gold Glove after fielding .988 and leading the league's second basemen. He was named to the Best Nine, beating out So Taguchi most notably.
In 2000, Kateko produced at only a .231/.281/.289 rate but he again led the league's second basemen in fielding percentage (.989). He hit .253/.311/.353 in 2001 and was thrown out in nine of 18 steal attempts, leading the PL in times gunned down. He led the league's second basemen in fielding once more, tying a record by leading five years in a row.
Kaneko was named team captain for 2007 and batted .243/.296/.327. He did hit .500 with 19 RBI with the bases loaded. In the 2007 Japan Series, he was 5 for 15 with a walk and a double. His 2 RBI were second on Nippon Ham, which got shut down by the Chunichi Dragons. His 775 OPS was second to Fernando Seguignol on the weak Fighters offensive.
Kaneko fell to .216/.267/.292 in 2008 at age 32.
He is married to sportscaster Seika Shiragi.