Thirty-eight-year-old catcher Tomoya Satozaki held a press conference at QVC Marines today to formally announce his plans to retire at the end of the season. The Marines have posted footage of the press conference.
According to Nikkan Sports, thirty-eight-year-old Tomoya Satozaki is planning to retire after the season because of left knee problems. The Chiba Lotte Marines have already been notified. A press conference will likely be held on Friday.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/11/2014
[UPDATE @ 1:14pm]
The Marines posted an announcement on their web site. They also posted the following statement from Satozaki:
I have decided to retire at the end of the season. I won two Nippon Series championships with the Marines and a WBC championship. In looking back at my baseball career, I feel very satisfied. I have no regrets. I was able to have this wonderful career because of the loyal fans, the people involved, and everyone else that gave me support. I am full of gratitude. Thank you for the sixteen years.
Source: official announcement
Atsunori Inaba held a press conference at Sapporo Dome earlier today to announce his plans to retire after the current season. The Nippon Ham Fighters have uploaded portions of the press conference to Youtube.
The media learned on Friday that forty-five-year-old pitcher Masao Kida is planning to retire at the end of the season.
Kida began his professional career as the Yomiuri Giants' first round draft pick in 1986. He was later traded to the Orix BlueWave in 1998. He exercised his FA option after the 1998 season and headed to the United States where he signed with the Detroit Tigers.
Kida returned to Orix partway through the 2000 season and was released after the 2001 season. He spent the following year rehabbing his lower back. In 2003, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and moved on to the Seattle Mariners in 2004, before returning to Japan and signing with the Yakult Swallows. He spent four years with the Swallows and played out the final three years of his professional career with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
In 2013, Kida signed with the Ishikawa Million Stars out of the BC League and paced the league with fifty-two appearances. He added General Manager to his job title before the 2014 season.
Kida made the All-Star series twice in his career (1990, 2006). He won an MVP of the Month in April 1990 and a Tokyo Dome MVP in 1995. He picked up one pitching major pitching title during his career -- he led the Central League in strikeouts with 182 in 1990. He finished out his career 73-82 with fifty saves and a 3.91 ERA in 516 games (1,269.2 innings).
The Softbank Hawks announced that Hidenori Tanoue (33) is retiring.
The following comment by Tanoue was provided by the organization via the official team website:
To the fans, thank you for your support over the last twelve years. You really helped me out. The Hawks organization picked me up after I left the Dragons and I wanted this team to be my last. I thought it might be best to leave the game now, instead of waiting until I after I can no longer hit the ball. I hit a home run during my last at bat at the Farm Championships on the 6th. It was not an Ichi-gun game, but I stepped into the batter's box thinking it might be my last official at bat. That I was able to hit a home run in front of the younger players will be my lasting memory. Thank you very much.
Source: official announcement
The Chunichi Dragons held a retirement ceremony for Takeshi Yamasaki after tonight's game against the Yokohama Bay Stars at Nagoya Dome.
His retirement speech, as posted by Nikkan Sports:
First, I want to thank the Chunichi Dragons organization, Morimichi Takagi, and my teammates for giving me these ceremony.
My last day as a professional baseball player has finally arrived. Before the start of today's game, I felt I could still keep playing. But having the opportunity to play a full game today, I can honestly say that I am exhausted. I feel I gained closure by playing today. I am now ok with retiring. Thank you.
I joined the Chunichi Dragons when I was eighteen. For nine years I toiled at the bottom. Things started to turn around a little in my tenth year. But it was a rocky time. I played for three organizations and was let go twice. A lot of things have happened, but I feel it was your cheering that allowed me to make it here today. Thank you.
Two major events happened during my career. The first was returning to the Dragons after ten years and being able to continue my career here.
The other was the Tohoku earthquake that took place two and a half years ago. I was with the Rakuten Eagles at the time. Survivors of the disaster taught me about living and never giving up. I would like to take this moment to thank the people of Tohoku. Thank you.
And the Dragons unfortunately finished without a spot in the playoffs for the first time in twelve years. We let the fans down and I feel really bad about that. But I think my teammates here, they will practice hard during the fall and figure out what went wrong this year. They will return strong. Please look forward to that.
To the Dragons' players, please play for as long as you can. Masahiro Yamamoto is a teammate on the Dragons. I did not want to lose out to him, but I did. I hope all my younger teammates will look to him as someone they should strive to become and ultimately surpass. I am cheering for you.
Finally, I want to thank my parents for giving me this strong body that allowed me to play for twenty-seven years without any major injuries. To my family and to those that have been a part of my life, thank very much. The next stage of my life begins tomorrow. I would like to do what I can to help give back to the Dragons and to pro baseball.
Thank you for today.
Source: Nikkan Sports 10/5/2013
A few other notes:
- Yamasaki's eldest son, Daiki, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
- Yamasaki got the start at first and batted fourth.
- He went 1-for-5: F7, 1B8, F7, F9, Ks.
- He was tossed into the air seven times.
The Hanshin Tigers held a retirement ceremony for Shinjiro Hiyama after tonight's game against the Yomiuri Giants at Koshien.
His speech, a posted by Daily Sports:
First, I would like to thank the Hanshin organization for organization this ceremony for me, Shinjiro Hiyama. Thank you very much.
I also want to thank the Giants' organization and the Giants' fans.
May 30, 1992 was the day I wore the Tigers uniform and made my debut at Koshien. I struck out.
In looking back, I followed after my brother as I was growing up. I owe my parents for giving me the strong body that has allowed me to play baseball for such a long time. And my family was always there to cheer me up. Thank you.
These twenty-two years, through good and bad times, you have warmly cheered for me. When my name was announced as a pinch-hitter, your warm cheers made it seem like the ground was trembling. You gave so much courage. I will never forget it.
I was able to experience two league pennants with all of you. But the Nippon Series championship has remained elusive. We will capture it someday. And when we do, let us all do it together.
I am a very lucky man. Thank you for these twenty-two years.
Source: Daily Sports 10/5/2013
A few other notes:
- The game was shown on a big screen at Shochiku Geino's Dotonbori Kadoza Hiroba.
- Hiyama's two sons participated in the ceremonial first pitch -- the eldest, Shusei, was the pitcher and the second son, Soshu, was the catcher.
- Hiyama got the start in right and batted fifth. He made the starting line-up for the first time since May 27, 2012 (vs Seibu).
- Hiyama went 0-for-3 before he was replaced on defense in the 8th inning: F7, F9, G3.
- Yomiuri Giant Shinnosuke Abe, teammates Takashi Toritani, Kentaro Sekimoto, and his two sons presented him with flowers.
- He was tossed into the air eight times.
Manabu Iwadate (32) held a press conference at Sapporo Dome today to announce his retirement at the end of the season.
Some quotes provided by the Fighters:
I met a lot of people over the last ten years. I want to thank everyone that gave me warm cheers, even though I am a not a flashy player.
The moment we won the pennant last year and tossed [Hideki] Kuriyama into the air, I felt as though everything I worked on reached the end.
My love for Hokkaido grew. I cannot imagine wearing another uniform. I told the manager I wanted to retire because I would not do anything to help him this year.
I am not sure what I am going to do next, but I want to do what I can to help give back to the game.
Source: official announcement
The Yakult Swallows held a retirement ceremony for Shinya Miyamoto after their game against the Hanshin Tigers tonight.
His retirement speech:
I first want to thank the Yakult organization for setting this up for me. Thank you.
To all the Tigers' fans that stayed until the end, thank you.
Many people helped me get to where I am, since the moment I joined the organization in 1995.
The person that influenced me the most was Katsuya Nomura. Nomura taught me what it takes to be a professional player.
[Tsutomu] Wakamatsu taught me what it meant to be an everyday player.
[Atsuya] Furuta taught me the responsibilities that come with being a central player.
[Shigeru] Takada helped me extend my career by converting me to a third baseman.
[Junji] Ogawa was always concerned about my condition and did what he could to make sure I played when I was in good shape.
Ogawa was also in charge of scouting me. I am happy that I can retire under Ogawa. I got this far because I met a lot of good people along the way -- coaches, teammates, personnel, trainers, and team staff. Thank you.
My parents brought me up to become the best at whatever I did. I do not know if I was able to accomplish that, but I was able to attain my dream of becoming a professional baseball player because of my father and mother. Thank you.
My wife, Tomomi, supported me through most of my pro career. Thank you very much.
Hina, Nao, Kyosuke, Miku. I was able to work hard because of you. Thank you.
The greatest memories of my career were the three Nippon Series championships. There are the personal records, but those moments we won the Nippon Series left the strongest marks on me.
The Swallows ended in last place this year. I expect the team to pull together and begin their turnaround during the fall and into next season.
I began playing when I was a child because I loved baseball. That changed when I turned pro and baseball became a job. During my retirement press conference, I said I never enjoyed playing baseball. There were concerns about not being able to hit, fears about committing an error, I never had fun playing baseball.
But after the retirement press conference, things started to change inside of me. Your warm and loud cheers and applause, even when I was just getting a pinch-hit at bat, made me feel that, despite all the struggles I had gone through on the field, I was a lucky person. It was your cheers that allowed me to enjoy playing the game for the first time. It made me feel as if it was worth all the hardships, pain, and regrets.
I always thought being a professional player was about making the fans happy by executing plays professionally and winning games, but here at the end, you allowed me to experience how baseball can be fun. Thank you to all the fans.
Lastly, to the Yakult Swallow fans, the Jingu Stadium fans, all your cheers were wonderful. Thank you very much for the last nineteen years.
- Advance tickets were sold out for the game. Same-day tickets were not available.
- Miyamoto's son, Kyosuke (7), threw out the ceremonial first pitch while Miyamoto stood in the batter's box.
- Miyamoto made the starting line-up at short batting second. It was the first time he got the start at short since May 21, 2010 (vs Lotte).
- Miyamoto went 0-for-5 in the game: Ks, G6, G3, G6, F7.
- Fukudome (PL Gakuen) presented Miyamoto with flowers after the game.
- PL Gakuen alumni Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, Atsushi Kataoka, Hiroki Nomura, and Kiyoshi Hashimoto were at the game. Former Swallows Atsuya Furuta and Norichika Aoki were also present, as were current teammates that were working out at Ni-gun: Shohei Tateyama, Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, Yuhei Takai, and Yoshinori Sato.
- A highlight reel of his career and a video message from former managers Junji Nakamura (PL Gakuen) and Katsuya Nomura (Yakult) were shown on the big screen before his speech.
- He was presented with a "big flag" full of messages from fans, prepared and presented by the Tsubame-gundan.
- Miyamoto was tossed into the air six times. He shook hands with each of his teammates. He threw baseballs into the stands as he walked around the field.
- He plans to become a commentator after retirement. The NPB could also offer him a position on the Samurai Japan staff.
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.