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.
[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