The media learned on October 13 that thirty-eight-year-old Takahiro Suzuki is planning to retire. He played in his twentieth season this year and appeared in forty-four games. He stole ten bases this year and extended his streak of ten o more stolen bases in a season to twelve. He was picked off first base in the ninth inning of the third game of the First Stage of the Climax Series on October 10. An official announcement could be made today.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/13/2016
[UPDATE 10/14 @ 6:07am]
The Giants held a press conference for Suzuki at Tokyo Dome Hotel on October 13. Some notes from various sources:
- He felt good about his physical and technical game, but felt a dip in his mental game. He decided to retire because he feels a dip in any area will lead to less than satisfactory results.
- He told Yoshinobu Takahashi about his decision the day after the Giants lost the First Stage of the Climax Series.
- He does not want to think about the first five years of his pro career because he struggled so much. However, he also thinks those very five years may have helped prepare him for the rest of his pro career.
- He appreciates the opportunity Tatsunori Hara gave him when he started using him as a pinch-runner in 2002.
- He approached every game the same way: since he was never certain when he was going to be used, he made it a point to make sure he was always prepared. It was the times in between his appearances that he remembers the most about his career.
- He felt a lot of pressure from the cheering fans. But he also attributes his success to their cheers.
Suzuki was selected by the Yomiuri Giants in the fourth round of the 1996 draft. He won a Golden Glove in 2008 and a Nippon Series Outstanding Player Award in 2008. He made the All-Star series in 2015 and holds the NPB record for most pinch-run stolen bases (132).
Source: Yomiuri 10/13/2016, Tokyo Sports 10/13/2016, Nikkan Sports 10/13/2016
[UPDATE 11/23 @ 11:28pm]
The Giants held a retirement ceremony for Suzuki during their FanFesta on November 23. Players tossed him into the air twelve times.
Source: Yomiuri 11/23/2016, Sponichi 11/23/2016