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).
[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:
Source: Rakuten announcement
[UPDATE 11/23 @ 11:30pm]
The Eagles held a retirement ceremony for Kurihara during Fan Appreciation Day today.
Source: Rakuten 11/23/20160 Comments
The Seibu Lions announced today that thirty-five-year-old Atsushi Okamoto will be retiring. A press conference will be held on September 28.0 Comments
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.
[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 12/4/20160 Comments
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.
[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 announcement0 Comments
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.0 Comments
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:
[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 10/1/20160 Comments
Satoshi Komatsu is planning to retire. A press conference is scheduled for September 22.
[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:
[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 9/29/20160 Comments
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.
[UPDATE 9/26 @ 7:38pm]
Kura and Hirose held a press conferences at Mazda Stadium on September 25.
Notes on Kura:
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:
[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 10/2/20160 Comments
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:
Miura is expected to get one more start on September 24 against the Yomiuri Giants at Yokohama Stadium.
Source: Yokohama Special Coverage, Sponichi 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 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Sports Hochi 9/20/2016, Daily 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.
[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.
[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).
[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.0 Comments
Saburo held a press conference at QVC Marine Field on September 1 to formally announce his decision to retire.
Some notes from various sources:
The Chiba Lotte Marines are planning to hold a retirement ceremony for Saburo on September 25.
[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.
Source: Daily Sports 9/25/20160 Comments