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[10/13/2015] Hanshin Tigers: Akihito Fujii to retire

by on Oct.13, 2015 @ 4:19 pm, under NPB

Akihito Fujii held a press conference at the team offices in Nishinomiya, Hyogo ealier today to announce that he was retiring.

Notes from various sources:

  • He felt a little sad after making his announcement in front of the media.
  • The sadness came from failing to win a championship this year and wanting to play more.
  • He started thinking about retirement a year or two ago. He started getting hurt more so he played each day as if it might be his last. Health was a big issue.
  • He thought he might be able to play a little longer, but after talking things over with his family, he felt retiring in a Hanshin uniform might be the best way to end his career.
  • He spoke to someone in the organization about retiring in September.
  • He told Takashi Toritani he was retiring on September 28.
  • He has a lot of memories from all three teams he played for. He remembers the wins and shutouts he caught.
  • He also remembers the last Kintetsu game on September 24, 2004.
  • When he exercised his FA option in 2010, he thought his career might end because no one seemed interested, until Hanshin reached out to him.
  • He was a Hanshin and Akinobu Mayumi fan growing up.
  • He did not tell Randy Messenger he was going to retire, but the pitcher still found out. He could feel the emotion in Messenger's pitchers.
  • He does not think he was a particularly good catcher, but he does take pride in doing whatever it took to make sure balls in the dirt stayed in front of him.
  • He was once told, by then Kintetsu battery coach Kazuhiko Yamashita, that catcher's have three jobs: catch the ball, stop the ball, throw the ball.
  • He feels he may have been able to do more over his career.
  • He wanted to experience a Nippon Series victory beer/champagne fight.
  • He came over from the Pacific League and was surprised at how many people packed Koshien.
  • He currently has nothing planned after retirement.
  • There are people in the Hanshin organization that are interested in bringing him back as a coach.
  • The Tigers offered to hold a retirement ceremony when the team played Hanshin on October 4, but he felt it might make things awkward for the team, since they were still competing for a spot in the Climax Series. He also wanted to play until the very end.
  • He felt his retirement ceremony took place on September 29 when his family and relatives were in the stands. He was extemely happy when he managed to record a hit in his last at bat, in his last regular season game, in front of his daughter.
  • He is listed ta 170 centimeters, but is really 168. He has a height complex.
  • He would like to spend more time with his family.

Source: official announcement, Nikkan Sports 10/13/2015, Sponichi 10/13/2015, Daily Sports 10/13/2015

[UPDATE 11/6 @ 7:03pm]

The Tigers are going to offer Fujii a job in the organization. They also want him to grow as a coach and plan to send him to the BC League's Fukui Miracle Elephants as a coach-in-training.

Source: Daily Sports 11/6/2015

Career Stats

Year Team G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI SB CS SH SF BB IBB HBP SO DP AVG OBP SLG OPS
1999 Kintetsu 15 21 19 4 5 1 1 0 8 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 5 0 .263 .333 .421 .754
2000 Kintetsu 21 15 11 3 3 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 4 1 .273 .467 .364 .830
2001 Kintetsu 1 3 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167
2002 Kintetsu 53 89 85 5 19 4 1 0 25 5 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 19 1 .224 .250 .294 .544
2003 Kintetsu 73 190 166 13 32 4 2 1 43 13 2 1 14 1 7 0 2 24 2 .193 .233 .259 .492
2004 Kintetsu 86 249 216 19 52 4 1 1 61 20 3 2 19 0 14 0 0 33 5 .241 .287 .282 .569
2005 Rakuten 113 271 250 19 58 9 1 0 69 21 1 1 6 3 11 0 1 38 5 .232 .264 .276 .540
2006 Rakuten 105 342 297 26 70 13 0 3 92 25 6 1 14 1 29 0 1 51 9 .236 .305 .310 .615
2007 Rakuten 76 110 98 8 23 5 0 0 28 7 1 3 3 2 6 1 1 13 5 .235 .280 .286 .566
2008 Rakuten 90 223 190 15 50 7 0 0 57 13 3 2 13 1 18 2 1 25 9 .263 .329 .300 .629
2009 Rakuten 35 76 71 7 23 1 0 1 27 9 0 0 3 0 2 0 0 9 2 .324 .342 .380 .723
2010 Rakuten 8 19 18 1 4 1 0 0 5 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 0 .222 .263 .278 .541
2011 Hanshin 99 298 265 19 59 9 1 2 76 15 1 1 16 0 16 2 1 48 10 .223 .270 .287 .557
2012 Hanshin 81 228 210 9 52 5 0 1 60 10 0 1 7 0 9 2 2 39 3 .248 .285 .286 .571
2013 Hanshin 112 343 298 21 77 7 0 1 87 24 1 0 15 3 27 2 0 43 7 .258 .317 .292 .612
2014 Hanshin 34 73 65 5 14 3 0 0 17 5 0 0 0 1 7 1 0 10 3 .215 .288 .262 .550
2015 Hanshin 71 159 134 8 23 1 1 0 26 3 0 0 4 0 21 1 0 20 4 .172 .284 .194 .478
  1073 2709 2395 182 565 75 8 10 686 173 18 12 115 12 177 11 10 385 66 .236 .290 .286 .578

Title/Awards

  • All-Star Game: 2013.