Forty-one-year-old Ryoji Aikawa held a press conference at Jingu Stadium before tonight’s Yakult Swallows to announced his decision to retire after the season. He told the media he decided to retire because he realized there was no longer a place for him on the team with the development of Seiji Kobayashi and Shingo Usami. He also told the media that he was offered a job to coach, but he turned it down because he felt he was not yet ready.
Aikawa started his professional career with the Yokohama Bay Stars after he was selected in the fifth round of the 1994 draft. He used his free agent option after the 2008 season and signed with the Yakult Swallows. He again exercised his option after the 2014 season and joined the Yomiuri Giants.
Aikawa made the Olympic team in 2004 and the World Baseball Classic teams in 2006 and 2013. He played in 1,507 games, collected 1,149 hits, and finished with a slash line of .259/.309/.351.
Stats are through October 2, 2017.
[UPDATE 10/3 @ 11:25pm]
Aikawa played in tonight’s game against the Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning and recorded an infield hit. He turned down a catch to do some catching during the game.
Players from both teams tossed Aikawa into the air eight times.
Source: Sponichi 10/3/20170 Comments
July 30, 2017 vs Yokohama at Tokyo Dome – Aikawa recorded a walk-off double off Yasuaki Yamasaki in the bottom of the ninth and joined Hirokazu Ibata, Sadaharu Oh, and Yuko Minamimura as the only players in Yomiuri Giants’ franchise history to record a walk-off hit after turning forty. Of the four players, Aikawa is the oldest.
The NPB record of forty-four years and six month was set by Yoshiyuki Iwamoto in 1956 and Takeshi Yamasaki in 2013. Aikawa is the eleventh player over forty-one to record a walk-off in NPB history. He is the oldest catcher in Central League history to record walk-off. The previous record of forty years and nine months was set by Motonobu Tanishige in 2011.0 Comments