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.