Tag Archive: Retirement


[9/28/2016] Kenta Kurihara to retire

The media learned today that thirty-four-year-old Kenta Kurihara is planning to retire. An official announcement will be made within the next few days.

Kurihara left the Hiroshima Carp last year and found a new home with the Rakuten Eagles after passing a tryout. He vowed to make a comeback, but never got the call. The Eagles like his work ethic and are thinking about offering him a coaching position.

Kurihara was selected by the Hiroshima Carp in the third round of the 1999 draft. He made his first Ichi-gun appearance in his third year in 2002. He became Hiroshima’s clean-up hitter in 2008 and recorded twenty-three home runs, 103 RBI, and a slash line of .332/.389/.515. He made the WBC roster in 2009 as a replacement player for an injured Shuichi Murata.

Kurihara’s career took a downhill slide after right elbow surgery in May 2012. He never fully recovered and played in only twenty-one games in 2012 and twenty-four games in 2013. He thought a change of scenery might be good and asked the Carp for his release after failing to make the active roster two years in a row.

The thirty-four-year-old hit 153 home runs and recorded 586 RBI in 1,026 games. He made the Best Nine in 2011, won three Gold Gloves (2008, 2009, 2011), and picked up three MVP of the Month Awards (July 2006, August 2011, September 2011). He made the All-Star series three times (2007, 2009, 2011).

Source: Daily Sports 9/28/2016, Daily Sports 9/28/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/28/2016, Sponichi 9/28/2016

[UPDATE 9/29 @ 1:27pm]

The Eagles offered Kurihara a job as Ni-gun hitting coach. They are waiting for his decision.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/29/2016

[UPDATE 9/30 @ 2:19am]

The Eagles officially announced on September 29 that Kurihara was retiring. A press conference will be held on October 1.

Source: Rakuten announcement

[UPDATE 10/3 @ 6:09am]

Notes from Kurihara’s press conference:

  • He decided to retire after he failed to make the active roster this year. His hitting problems also factored into the decision.
  • He felt relieved after the decision.
  • Through good times and bad times, he always tried to maintain his focus. He never thought his career would last this long. He is grateful to everyone that supported him over the years.
  • He values all his experiences, from the hard practices he endured when he played for the Carp, to making the WBC roster.
  • He remembers his first hit/home run because it marked the start of his career.
  • He appreciates the opportunity Rakuten gave him and values the things he experienced during his short time in the organization.

Source: Rakuten announcement

[UPDATE 11/23 @ 11:30pm]

The Eagles held a retirement ceremony for Kurihara during Fan Appreciation Day today.

Source: Rakuten 11/23/2016


[9/27/2016] Seibu Lions: Atsushi Okamoto to retire

The Seibu Lions announced today that thirty-five-year-old Atsushi Okamoto will be retiring. A press conference will be held on September 28.

Source: Seibu announcementSports Hochi 9/27/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/27/2016, Sponichi 9/27/2016


[9/26/2016] Ryosuke Morioka to retire

The Yakult Swallows announced today that thirty-two-year-old Ryosuke Morioka will be retiring.

Morioka was selected by the Chunichi Dragons in the first round of the 2002 draft. He was released in 2008 and picked up by Yakult after attending a tryout. He was the Swallows’ player representative chairman in 2014 and 2015.

Source: Yakult announcementSponichi 9/26/2016

[UPDATE 9/27 @ 4:16pm]

The Swallows are planning to hold a retirement ceremony for Morioka on September 28 against Yokohama at Jingu Stadium.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/27/2016

[UPDATE 9/29 @ 1:18am]

The Swallows tossed Morioka into the air ten times during his retirement celebration after Wednesday night’s game against the Yokohama Bay Stars.

Source: Sponichi 9/28/2016

[UPDATE 12/4 @ 11:34pm]

Morioka suddenly had a hard time throwing the ball in late-August. He even had difficulty playing a simple game of catch. It became one of the reasons why he decided to retire.

Source: Sponichi 12/4/2016


[9/23/2016] Masaru Takeda announces retirement

Thirty-eight-year-old Masaru Takeda held a press conference at Sapporo Dome earlier and officially announced that was retiring. A retirement ceremony is scheduled for September 30 (vs Lotte at Sapporo Dome).

Takeda felt like he could still pitch the last two or three years, but he slowly found himself cheering for the younger players in the organization. He decided to retire because the motivation was no longer there.

Takeda managed to put together decent numbers even though he was not an overpowering pitcher (he was on the small side at 176 centimeters and his fastball was in the 130km/h range). He won at least ten games in four consecutive seasons between 2009 and 2012. He made it to the All-Star Games in 2011 and won MVP of the Month in March/April 2012. The Fighters made it to the Nippon Series four times during his career (2006, 2007, 2009, 2012). He won eighty-two games and lost sixty-one in 243 appearances.

Source: Nippon Ham announcementNikkan Sports 9/23/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/23/2016, Daily Sports 9/23/2016, Sponichi 9/23/2016

[UPDATE 10/3 @ 5:18am]

Takeda will stay with the team as a batting practice pitcher in preparation for the Final Stage of the Climax Series.

Source: Sanspo 10/2/2016

[UPDATE 12/14 @ 10:40pm]

The Fighters announced today that Takeda will be assigned to the BC League’s Ishikawa Million Stars as both a coach and vice president.

Source: Nippon Ham announcement


[9/23/2016] Yudai Kawai, Shiji Iwata announce retirement

Thirty-six-year-old Yudai Kawai and and twenty-nine-year -old Shinji Iwata held a press conference at Nagoya Dome today to announce that this will be their last years. The two will make their final appearances during the last two homes games of the season on September 24 and 25.

Yudai joined the Chunichi organization as their fourth round pick during the 2004 draft. His registered name was originally Kawai Susumu. He changed it to Kawai Yudai in 2009 and then Yudai in 2012. He set a franchise record by starting the 2009 season with an eleven-game winning streak. He recorded twenty-eight wins and thirty-eight losses in ninety-nine games. He won an MVP of the Month award in June 2009 and made it to the All-Star Games in 2009.

Iwata was selected by Chunichi in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. He led the Western League (Ni-gun) in wins and ERA in 2010. Motonobu Tanishige once said he could not catch his forkball, aka the “no spin fork” and the “magical fork.” He won nine and lost fifteen in forty-eight games.

Source: Chunichi announcementDaily Sports 9/23/2016


[9/23/2016] Shinobu Fukuhara to retire this year

The media learned on September 22 that Shinobu Fukuhara is planning to retire this year. A press conference to announce the decision will be held shortly. A retirement game could be held on October 1 (last home game of the season).

Source: Daily Sports 9/23/2016

[UPDATE 9/24 @ 12:30am]

Fukuhara held a press conference at a hotel in Nishinomiya, Hyogo on September 23 and formally announced that he decided to retire.

A few notes:

  • He retired because he was unable to help the team. He also had a hard time getting outs at Ni-gun and was no longer getting swinging strikes and foul balls on pitches he thought were good.
  • The first people he told about his retirement was his family. His kids still wanted him to play.
  • He has no regrets.
  • His best memories were the two league pennants.
  • He was selected in the third round of the 1999 draft out of Toyo University.
  • He recorded a career high twelve victories in 2006. He appeared in at least fifty games in five consecutive seasons, beginning in 2011. He won the Best Reliever Award in 2014 and 2015, the MVP of the Month in April 2004, and made it to won All-Star series (2004). He recorded eighty-three victories, 104 losses, twenty-nine saves, and 118 holds in 594 games.
  • A retirement ceremony is scheduled for October 1 (vs Yomiuri at Koshien).

Source: Hanshin announcement, Sports Hochi 9/23/2016, Sponichi 9/23/2016, Daily Sports 9/23/2016

[UPDATE 9/26 @ 4:43pm]

The Tigers announced that Fukuhara’s retirement ceremony will take place on October 1.

Source: Hanshin announcement

[UPDATE 9/30 @ 4:14am]

The Tigers have offered Fukuhara a job as coach.

Source: Sanspo 9/29/2016

[UPDATE 10/1 @ 7:00pm]

The Tigers held a retirement ceremony for Fukuhara after their game against the Yomiuri Giants today. He was tossed into the air eight times.

Source: Daily Sports 10/1/2016


[9/22/2016] Orix Buffaloes: Satoshi Komatsu to retire

Satoshi Komatsu is planning to retire. A press conference is scheduled for September 22.

Source: Sponichi 9/22/2016, Daily Sports 9/22/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/22/2016

[UPDATE 9/22 @ 4:01pm]

Komatsu held a press conference at Kyocera Dome earlier today and formally announced his decision to retire.

A few notes from various reports:

  • he felt there was no reason to continue if he was not going to be able to pitch at the Ichi-gun level.
  • he is grateful for the career he had and appreciates all the support he received over the years, even though he only really had one good year (2008).
  • he will most likely remain in the organization. His job title has not yet been decided.
  • a retirement ceremony will be held on September 29 (against Rakuten at Kyocera Dome).
  • he joined the Orix organization through the 2006 draft, won the Rookie of the Year in 2008 with a 15-3 record, and made the World Baseball Classic roster in 2009. Since recording his last win on September 3, 2012, he has gone 0-2 with a 4.44 ERA in fifty Ichi-gun games. He went 25-26 in 158 games and recorded a 4.36 ERA over his career. 

Source: Daily Sports 9/22/2016, Sponichi 9/22/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/22/2016

[UPDATE 9/26 @ 6:15pm]

The Ni-gun Buffaloes held a “surprise” retirement ceremony for Komatsu after their game against Hiroshima on September 25. He was tossed into the air ten times.

Source: Sponichi 9/25/2016

[UPDATE 9/30 @ 2:02am]

The Buffaloes held a retirement ceremony for Komatsu on September 29. He was tossed into the air eight times.

Source: Sponichi 9/29/2016


[9/20/2016] Hiroshima Carp: Kura, Hirose to retire

The Hiroshima Carp announced earlier today that forty-one-year-old Yoshikazu Kura and thirty-seven-year-old Jun Hirose will be retiring this year. Neither played in any Ichi-gun games this season. They approached team officials and submitted their intent to retire.

A press conference will be held for the two players in the near future.

Source: Sponichi 9/20/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Daily Sports 9/20/2016

[UPDATE 9/26 @ 7:38pm]

Kura and Hirose held a press conferences at Mazda Stadium on September 25.

Notes on Kura:

  • He never really had fun while playing baseball and hoped to have a little fun during the last game of his career.
  • He learned a lot from Hiroki Kuroda. He believes he never would have lasted nineteen years without his help at the beginning.
  • He was not with the team when it won the pennant. He watched the game on television. He was disappointed he could not be there, but as he watched, he felt like he was there celebrating with the team.
  • He had been thinking about retiring because he has been unable to help the Ichi-gun team the last few years. He only kept going because he promised himself he would keep playing until Kuroda came back. The final nail in the coffin was when he failed to spent any time at Ichi-gun this year.
  • The game he remembers the most is the one where Kuroda picked up his fifteenth victory of the season on October 7, 2005.
  • His happiest memory is catching Kenta Maeda’s no-hitter on April 6, 2012.

Kura made the starting line-up at catcher for the Yakult game on September 25 and caught Hiroki Kuroda for the first time since September 27, 2007. He was in the game for just one batter (result: walk). The game was later canceled due to rain.

Notes on Hirose:

  • He is looking forward to his retirement game and hopes that he can enjoy it. He would like to finish his career with a smile on his face.
  • He started the year at Ni-gun and physically felt great, but he started feeling aches and pains toward the end of the season. He decided to retire because his body no longer moved in the way that he wanted it to. He made his final decision after he considered his options and talked it over with a team official and his family.
  • He spent the last two years at Ni-gun, but did not want that fact to define him. He wanted all the years he spent on baseball to mean something and he did not want younger players to pick up bad habits from him, or let fans down by doing something he might later regret. He spent the last two years trying to figure out what baseball meant to him by facing his career head on with sincerity.
  • He is extremely grateful to everyone that helped him during his sixteen year career, especially since he struggled with injuries.
  • He still strongly remembers setting a new NPB record by reaching base in fifteen consecutive trips to the plate in 2013, between April 21 and April 26. He remembers feeling like he wanted to run away when he extended his streak to fifteen and then dreading the next trip to the plate, only to fly out to first on the first pitch.

Source: Hiroshima announcement (Kura), Hiroshima announcement (Hirose), Nikkan Sports 9/25/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/25/2016Daily Sports 9/25/2016, Daily Sports 9/25/2016Daily Sports 9/25/2016

[UPDATE 10/2 @ 7:18pm]

The Carp held a retirement ceremony for Hirose after their game against Yakult on October 1. He was tossed into the air seven times.

Source: Sponichi 10/2/2016


[9/20/2016] Yokohama Bay Stars: Daisuke Miura announces retirement

Forty-two-year-old veteran Daisuke Miura announced today during a press conference in Yokohama that this was going to be his last season. He was selected in the sixth round of the 1991 draft and spent his entire twenty-five year career in Yokohama. He informed the Bay Stars (president, general manager, manager) after a Hanshin game on September 16 of his decision.

Miura could have left Yokohama through free agency after the 2008 season (there were rumors he might sign with Hanshin), but he most likely took less to stay in the city he loved.

The veteran with the regent hairstyle will end his career with 172 victories and 183 losses in 534 games. He captured three titles during his career (winning percentage in 1997, ERA in 2005, and strikeouts in 2005), four MVP of the Months, and the Golden Spirit Award in 2007. He made it to six All-Star series and holds the NPB record for most consecutive seasons with a win (twenty-three years, 1993-2015) and most consecutive seasons with ten or more starts (twenty-one, 1995-2015). His twenty-four consecutive seasons with at least one hit was recognized by Guinness World Records as the longest streak by a professional pitcher.

Miura’s uniform number 18 will become a “Yokohama number” and will be reserved for special players.

From his press conference:

  • Why he decided to retire
    He decided to retire because he was unable to win. He told himself he would retire he if could no longer function as a starter or if he could no longer win.
  • What kept him going for twenty-five years
    He never thought he was going to have a twenty-five year career when he first turned pro. He played each year one at a time. He found a great deal of joy in seeing fans celebrate his victories.
  • His best memory
    Winning the 1998 championship.
  • On remaining in Yokohama and not signing with Hanshin
    He struggled with the decision and has no regrets. He was very happy when he was able to win his 150th game with the Bay Stars.
  • Does he have interest in becoming a coach
    He does have aspirations to become a coach, but he also wants some time to gain more experience. He would like to return to Yokohama at some point in the future.
  • Why he chose the regent hairstyle
    He liked the hairstyle. He also wanted to stand out among the other players. Standing out based on performance is the best way, but he also wanted to stand out in other areas as well. He plans to keep the hairstyle for as long as he can.
  • On being a Eikichi Yazawa fan
    He has been a fan since he was a junior high school student. His songs gave him energy and courage.

Miura is expected to get one more start on September 24 against the Yomiuri Giants at Yokohama  Stadium.

Source: Yokohama Special CoverageSponichi 9/20/2016, Sponichi 9/20/2016, Sponichi 9/20/2016, Sponichi 9/20/2016, Sponichi 9/20/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/20/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/20/2016Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016Daily Sports 9/20/2016, Sanspo 9/20/2016, Sanspo 9/20/2016

[UPDATE 9/21 @ 9:02pm]

The Bay Stars announced players will wear the number eighteen during Saturday’s game against the Yomiuri Giants at Yokohama Stadium.

Miura merchandise has been selling very well. Sales grew by 300 percent after his retirement press conference. His replica number eighteen uniform has already sold out.

Source: Yokohama announcement, Tokyo Sports 9/21/2016

[UPDATE 9/23 @ 1:54am]

Miura’s retirement game/ceremony was pushed back to September 29 after the game on September 22 was rained out. The Bay Stars want to schedule the retirement game/ceremony for the last home game of the season. There are two home games left on the schedule. If one or more are rained out, the retirement game/ceremony could be pushed back again.

Source: Yokohama announcement, Sanspo 9/22/2016

[UPDATE 9/30 @ 1:31am]

The Bay Stars held a retirement ceremony for Miura on September 29. He was tossed into the air eighteen times.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/29/2016

[UPDATE 10/1 @ 2:50am]

Miura thought his night was over after the sixth inning, but coaches wanted to give him a chance to walk off the mound and let him face the first batter in the seventh inning.

Miura finishes his career with 488 starts, most in franchise history and seventh most in NPB history. His 294 consecutive starts, from 2002, is the second longest streak in NPB history. He also holds the franchise record for most hits allowed (3,146) and strikeouts (2,481).

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/30/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/30/2016

[UPDATE 10/1 @ 10:24pm]

Miura will remain with the team for the rest of the season as a pitching coach. He is planning to take the next year off to rest and relax.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/1/2016, Sponichi 10/1/2016


[9/1/2016] Saburo formally announces decision to retire

Saburo held a press conference at QVC Marine Field on September 1 to formally announce his decision to retire.

Some notes from various sources:

  • Age played into his decision to retire. But the biggest reason was not being able to contribute at the Ichi-gun level.
  • His greatest memory was the Nippon Series championship in 2005.
  • He was grateful when fan accepted him when he returned after spending some time with the Yomiuri Giants.
  • His goal was to play until he was forty and in that sense, he has no regrets. He is thankful to the organization for allowing him to reach his goal.
  • He contacted Lotte on October 29 about his decision.
  • He felt bad his two sons had to learn about his decision while watching the news. He wanted to tell them, but could not because he knew they would cry.
  • He spent a Lotte of time this year giving younger players advice.
  • He has not thought about what he wants to do after retirement. He is open to taking a job in the organization.

The Chiba Lotte Marines are planning to hold a retirement ceremony for Saburo on September 25.

Source: Lotte announcementDaily Sports 9/1/2016Sponichi 9/1/2016, Sponichi 9/1/2016Nikkan Sports 9/1/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/1/2016, Nikkan Sports 9/1/2016

[UPDATE 9/25 @ 10:33pm]

Saburo was tossed into the air ten times during his retirement ceremony after an Orix game at QVC Marine earlier today.

Box Score

Source: Daily Sports 9/25/2016