Dennis Sarfate: Did You Know

2015

Before the season, the Softbank Hawks sold towels with Sarfate’s name on it. His name was misspelled DNNIS SARFATE. The Hawks pulled back the towels, but a few were already sold. Sarfate jokingly said he would be more than happy to personally write in the letter E.

Source: Tokyo Sports 11/21/2017

2017

Softbank players presented Sarfate with a glove commemorating his fifty-four-save season after practices at YafuOku Dome on October 17, 2017.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/17/2017

Sarfate donated the ball and cap he wore when he recorded his forty-seventh save of the year to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Tokyo. The items will go on display beginning on October 18.

Source: Sponichi 10/17/2017, Hall of Fame 10/17/2017

Sarfate celebrated his wedding anniversary on the day the Softbank Hawks won the Final Stage of the Climax Series on October 22.

Source: Sanspo 10/23/2017

Sarfate won the 2017 Nippon Series MVP. He joined Takashi Yamaguchi (1975) and Kimiyasu Kudo (1986) as the only pitchers in NPB history to record two or more saves and win the Nippon Series MVP. He joined Osamu Higashio (1982) as the only pitcher in NPB history to win a Nippon Series MVP while pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. He also joined Joe Stanka (1953) as the only foreign pitcher in NPB history to win a Nippon Series MVP. He is the first pitcher in NPB history to win an Nippon Series MVP while pitching only five innings. The previous low was Manabu Mima’s 11.2 innings in 2013.

At thirty-six years and six months, Sarfate is the third oldest player to win a Nippon Series MVP, behind Hiroki Kokubo’s forty years and one month in 2011 and Koji Akiyama’s thirty-seven years and six months in 1999. He is the oldest pitcher to win a Nippon Series MVP. The previous record of thirty-three years and two months was held by pitchers like Takashi Ishii (2004).

Source: Sponichi 11/5/2017, Nikkan Sports 11/5/2017, Sanspo 11/5/2017

Sarfate flew in for the NPB Awards on November 20. He left his house in Arizona around 8pm on November 18 (US time) and took a 9pm flight to Los Angeles. He then took a 12:00am All Nippon Airway flight from Los Angeles and arrived at Haneda Airport at 5:40am. He went to his hotel and worked out at the gym. At about 3:00pm he went to the award ceremony hall. The ceremony started at 4:30pm. The MVP press conference began at 7:00pm. He hopped on the 10:55pm All Nippon Airway flight from Haneda to Los Angeles.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/21/2017


Sarfate is planning to continue making donations to the Great East Japan Earthquake Recovery Initiatives Foundation based on his performance during the season (100,000 yen for every save he records). He donated 4.1 million yen in 2015 and 4.3 million yen in 2016.

Source: Sports Hochi 3/16/2017


Milestones

July 21, 2017 vs Lotte at YafuOku Dome – Sarfate became just the second pitcher in NPB history (first in the Pacific League) to record at least thirty saves in four consecutive seasons. Hitoki Iwase holds the record with nine consecutive seasons.

Source: Sponichi 7/22/2017

August 15, 2017 vs Orix at YafuOku Dome – Sarfate pitched in his fiftieth game of the year and became the first foreign pitcher in NPB history to appear in fifty or more games in five consecutive seasons and the first foreign pitcher in NPB history to appear in fifty or more games six times during their career.

Source: Nikkan Sports 8/16/2017

August 16, 2017 vs Orix at YafuOku Dome – Sarfate notched his fortieth save of the season and became just the second pitcher in NPB history to record forty or more saves in three consecutive seasons. The other pitcher: Hitoki Iwase between 2005 and 2007.

Source: Daily Sports 8/16/2017, Sponichi 8/17/2017, Nikkan Sports 8/17/2017

August 27, 2017 vs Lotte at YafuOku Dome – Sarfate picked up forty-third save of the year and tied his own 2016 Pacific League record for most saves in a season. The NPB record of forty-six is held by Hitoki Iwase (2005) and Kyuji Fujikawa (2007).

The save was also Sarfate’s tenth in August. He became the first pitcher in NPB history to record ten or more saves in consecutive months (eleven in July and ten in August).

Source: Sanspo 8/27/2017, Nikkan Sports 8/27/2017, Nikkan Sports 8/28/2017

August 31, 2017 vs Nippon Ham at Sapporo Dome – Sarfate set a career and Pacific League high with his forty-fourth save of the year. He set his previous high of forty-three (both career and Pacific League) last year.

Source: Sponichi 8/31/2017

September 14, 2017 vs Orix at YafuOku Dome – Sarfate recorded a save. He tied a Pacific League record by racking up seventeen consecutive saves, going back to August 8. Masahide Kobayashi set the initial record in 2002.

Source: Sponichi 9/14/2017

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