Hiroki Kuroda held a press conference at a hotel in Hiroshima on October 18 to announce his plans to retire after the season.
Kuroda was selected by the Hiroshima Carp in the second round of the 1996 draft. He pitched in 321 NPB games and went 124-105 with a 3.55 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 2,021.2 innings. He also pitched in 212 MLB games and went 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 1,319.0 innings. He made the Best Nine in 2005 and won a Golden Glove in the same year. He won MVP of the Month Awards in May 2005, July 2006, and August 2006. He made the All-Star team five times (2001, 2005-2007, 2015).
Notes from various sources:
- One big reason why he decided to retire was the Carp winning the pennant and making it to the Nippon Series. He is not sure if he would have made the same decision if the team failed to win the pennant.
- Another reason for retirement: no longer being able to pitch deep into games.
- He first started thinking about retirement every years about two to three years ago. He seriously started thinking about it after the team clinched first place.
- He told Takahiro Arai about his decision after the Carp clinched the pennant. Arai asked him to play another season, but he told him his body was a mess.
- If he had it his way, he would have waited to make an announcement until after the Nippon Series. However, he felt he owed it to his teammates and fans to speak up sooner since his next Nippon Series start might be his last.
- He has no regrets, especially after this season.
- He gathered teammates and staff on the field at Mazda Stadium around 5:00pm on October 18 and told them he was going to retire. His press conference starts at 7:00pm.
Source: Hiroshima announcement, Daily Sports 10/18/2016, Sports Hochi 10/18/2016, Sports Hochi 10/18/2016, Sponichi 10/18/2016, Sponichi 10/18/2016
[UPDATE 10/19 @ 4:22pm]
TV ratings for Kuroda’s press conference averaged 19.2% and peaked at 23.6%.
Source: Daily Sports 10/19/2016