The Nippon Ham Fighters announced on September 28 that thirty-eight-year-old Kenji Yano will be retiring after the season. The Fighters released the following statement from Yano:
I, Kenji Yano, have decided to end my career. I spent about twelve years with the Giants and around four years with the Fighters. Both teams made me feel at home. I was able to play for sixteen years at the professional level because the supportive fans gave me strength with their cheering.
Even though I missed time with injuries, the Giants fans in right sang with everything they had after games. The smiling Fighters fans welcomed me at Sapporo Dome by saying “Thank you for coming.” I will never forget these things.
The wonderful managers, coaches, and staff saw my abilities and kept playing me even though I am not blessed with talent. The experienced players I could respect. Players in my age group. The young players. I played alongside, and was supported by, many people. I had a really happy life as a baseball player. There’s only a few more games left, but I will do my best for the team until the very end. Please continue to cheer for me!
Source: Nippon Ham 9/28/2018