Tomonori Maeda's retirement ceremony took place after Thursday's game against the Chunichi Dragons.
Maeda's retirement speech, as posted by Daily Sports:
Thank you for your warm cheers over the last twenty-four years.
My career was full of injuries, but beginning with the owner, the managers, the staff, and various personnel, everyone helped me, kept me going, supported me, and got me through to where I am now.
I am proud of spending my entire career in Hiroshima, with the Hiroshima Carp.
I also want to thank my parents and family for supporting me through everything.
The Carp managed to finish in the top three for the first time in sixteen years.
I think we were able to come this far because the manager, the coaches, and staff did a good job guiding the young players and veterans.
I was frustrated that I could not be a part of this, but I retire today with the hopes that this is a turning point, that the Carp will become strong and have a bright future.
I want to thank [Morimichi] Takagi and the Chunichi Dragons for today as well.
I look forward to seeing them bounce back next season and watching them play as the Dragons should.
And finally, I would like to say one more time, to all the fans that cheered for me over the years and to everyone that supported, thank you.
Thank you for everything.
Source: Daily Sports 10/3/2013
A few other notes:
- Tickets to the game were sold out. Announced attendance was 32,217, a high for 2013.
- About 1,500 people showed up to watch the game on the big screen at Motomachi Kuredo.
- Maeda's parents, wife, and children were at the game. His two sons participated in the ceremonial first pitch -- his eldest son, Hiroyoshi (12), got behind the plate as catcher and his second second, Akihiro (10), threw the first pitch.
- Maeda made it into the game as a pinch-hitter in the 8th and grounded out to the pitcher in his last official at bat. He remained in the game and took over in right in the 9th. It was the first time he played defense in a game since July 25, 2008 (vs Yokohama).
- Maeda tossed into the air once, for his uniform number, in two different sittings.