Motoyasu Kaneshiro (AKA Gi-tae Kim)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 171 lb.
- High School Konohana Shogyo High School
Motoyasu Kaneshiro pitched 14 years in Nippon Pro Baseball and made three All-Star teams and won two Fireman of the Year awards. He also spent two years in the Korea Baseball Organization, where he was known as Gi-tae Kim.
Kaneshiro was a fifth-round draft choice in 1970, chosen by the Hiroshima Carp. He debuted for the Carp in 1972 with a 3-3, 3.93 record in 27 games. In 1973, the right-hander was 10-6 with a 2.54 ERA in 40 outings. He was 8th in the Central League in ERA. The next year, the youngster had a 20-15, 3.64 record. He struck out 207 in 252 IP. He led the Central League with 107 earned runs allowed but also led in strikeouts and tied Yukitsura Matsumoto for the win lead. He made his first All-Star team as well.
Kaneshiro's career was shaken up by a traffic accident in the off-season which caused damage to his eyes. It was believed he might never pitch again, but he returned late in the 1975 season to go 1-0 with 4 saves and a 2.67 ERA in 16 games. In the 1975 Japan Series, Kaneshiro got the call to start game one, a 3-3 tie, and 3 days later had a no-decision in a game blown by the bullpen. He relieved in two other games in the Series, which Hiroshima lost 4 games to 2 and finished with a 3.60 ERA and no decisions.
With Nankai, Kaneshiro bounced back, going 10-11 with a save and 2.51 ERA in 1977 and making the Pacific League All-Star team. He led the PL with 15 hit batters. He finished 4th in the PL in ERA. In 1978, Motoyasu only pitched 30 1/3 innings and was 0-4 with 3 saves and a 4.20 ERA.
Kaneshiro bounced back once again. In 1979, he was 4-5 with 16 saves and a 3.31 ERA in 53 games, leading the PL in saves and winning his first Fireman of the Year Award. He had a 6-4, 13 save, 3.63 record in 1980 and again won Fireman of the Year honors. He had one no-pitch save that year.
In 1981, Kaneshiro was 2-0 with 7 saves and a 1.80 ERA in just 23 games. A year later, he made his third and last All-Star roster and went 6-9 with a 2.65 ERA and a career-high 21 saves. He pitched 57 games that year, leading the Pacific League.
Kaneshiro's last year as a closer produced a 4-4, 15 save, 3.67 line in 1983. In 1984, he was 0-1 with 8 saves and a 3.86 ERA in 20 games. He then moved to the Yomiuri Giants, where he had a 4.87 ERA and no decisions in 17 games in 1985.
Kaneshiro had gone 68-71 with 92 saves and a 3.33 ERA in 461 games in NPB.
After retiring, Kaneshiro ran a soba noodle restaurant in Osaka.