Masahiro Yamamoto held a press conference in Nagoya earlier today and once again announced that he was going to retire at the end of the season.
A few notes from various sources:
- His decision has not yet fully sunken in, but he feels somewhat relieved because it was a big decision.
- He met general manager Hiromitsu Ochiai in early September and was told to figure out what he wanted to do. He thought things through for about a month. He feels he made a good decision.
- He has been asked about not being able to break the world record for oldest pitcher to win a game. The way he sees it, retirement would not be a question if the record was not hanging in the balance. He does not think he should continue pitching just to break the record.
- He had a really hard time with his decision to retire. He knew the team had to undergo changes after three consecutive B-class finishes and did not want to get in the way of that, but he also wanted to win another game. He had the chance to do it this year, but failed. He knew he had to draw the line somewhere and decided this would be his last year.
- He thinks his career really started when he spent some time in the Dodgers organization in 1988 and worked with Akihiro "Ike" Ikuhara.
- There are times he feels satisfied with his career, and other times he wishes he could have kept going a little longer. There were a lot of things he wishes he could have done over his career, but he has no regrets because he feels he always tried his best.
- He wishes he could have been in the dugout when the team won the Nippon Series in 2007.
- He feels lucky because he was able to play baseball with the same kind of feelings he had from childhood until he turned fifty.
- He thinks his best years may have been 1993 and 1994, based on how strong he felt and how well his body moved. In terms of skill, he feels he might be at his best right now.
- He would like to take the mound one more time, even if it is to face just one batter.
- "It feels like I just woke up from a long dream. It's a shame. Maybe I should go back to sleep. I don't know how many people have wanted to become a baseball player, but I was allowed to play for the longest. My career was like a miracle. I may have had the happiest career in baseball."
- Memorable moment: the no-hitter he threw on September 16, 2006.
- He is interested in coaching, but he feels he has a lot to learn outside of just knowing how to throw the ball.
- He plans to work as a baseball commentator after he retires. He also wants to get back into RC racing.
Yamamoto joined Ichi-gun practices at Nagoya Dome on September 30. He might get the chance to pitch in the two-game Hiroshima series that begins on October 1.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/30/2015
[UPDATE 10/8 @ 10:02am]
Yamamoto was added to the active roster on October 7. He started the last game of his career on the last day of the season. He took the mound against Hiroshima and faced one hitter: he got Yoshihiro Maru to ground out to second on three pitches. At fifty years and one month, he set a new NPB record for oldest player to appear in a game, pitch in a game, and start a game. Takahiro Arai and his wife presented him with flowers. He was tossed into the air seven times by teammates in the bullpen.
- Sawamura Award: 1994
- Best Pitcher: 1994, 1997
- MVP of the Month: April, July, August 1993, April, September 1994, July 1997, April 1999, August 2008
- Best Nine: 1994, 1997
- All-Star Game: 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 2004
- Most Wins: 1993, 1994, 1997
- Best ERA: 1993
- Most Strikeouts: 1997