The Sawamura Award selection committee met in Tokyo today and unanimously decided to present the award to Masahiro Tanaka.
Committee member Masaji Hiramatsu spoke to reporters and said, "We argued over the winner last year, but this year there was no doubt."
Only one pitcher, Orix's Chihiro Kaneko, cleared all suggested requirements for the Sawamura Award. Tanaka fell short in one category, but the five-member committee still selected him because he finished the season undefeated, allowed just six home runs over 212 innings (despite the bouncier ball), and had a knack for pitching out of some fairly big jams all season long. They also noted that complete games has become the least important of the seven suggested requirements based on how the game has changed over the years.
When Tanaka won the award in 2011, there were some questions about whether or not it was right for a top-quality pitcher to show a lot of emotion on the mound (like pump fists or shout), but things were different this time around.
"He is a great pitcher that impressed me. I can not say anything bad about him. I have nothing to say against him," committee member Choji Murata said.
Nikkan Sports has posted portions of his press conference.
You were a unanimous selection.
That makes me happy.
Is there a secret to your success this season?
Holding back when you have to hold back. Performing when you have to perform.
You were given the award during the Nippon Series.
The first time I got this award, it was after the season when I was resting. This time I am still playing and it honestly feels like, "is it that time of year already?" I believe I can not pitch in such a way that I might embarrass this award.
Do you feel pride in finishing the season undefeated?
I do not feel that. This is not something I accomplished by myself, so I feel that I can not really boast. I am grateful to my teammates.
You tied baseball greats from the past and then went beyond. Has any of that sunk in?
That record is not right in front of me and I feel baseball in the past and now have changed. Game totals are different too, so I am not really sure.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/28/2013
Sawamura Award Requirements
|Category||Requirement||C. Kaneko||M. Tanaka|
|Games||25 or more||29||28|
|Complete Games||10 or more||10||8|
|Wins||15 or more||15||24|
|Winning Percentage||.600 or better||.652||1.000|
|Innings Pitched||200 or more||223.1||212.0|
|Strikeouts||150 or more||200||183|
|Earned Run Average||2.50 or better||2.01||1.27|
Sawamura Award Selection Committee Members
Tsuneo Horiuchi, Masaji Hiramatsu, Choji Murata, Manabu Kitabeppu, and Kimiyasu Kudo.