On May 21, 2019, former Boston Red Sox league pitcher Koji Uehara held a press conference in Tokyo, Japan about his retirement. Uehara is a Japanese professional baseball player under the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball (NBP). The 44-year old right-handed pitcher debuted in 1999 with the Giants and reunited with the team in 2018. He gained the palm in the World Series title when he played for Boston Red Sox in 2013. Uehara said, “I want to end my 21-year baseball career today. There is a part of me that wants to play on, but I decided from the beginning of the season that this is my last.” He also disclosed that he did not succeed in giving his best foot forward this season. Uehara chose to wrap up his Major League Baseball career with 95 saves and a 2.66 earned run average (ERA).

Koji Uehara became closer’s rookie of the year in 1999 and received Japan’s most awe-inspiring starting pitcher award, the Sawamura Award, with a record of 20 wins. In a span of 10 years, he has achieved a total of 112 wins, 33 saves, and a .301 ERA before he turned to be a free agent in the US in 2009. Uehara signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He also pitched for Boston Red Sox where he was hailed as the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player in 2013 with 21 saves and 1.09 ERA. He was also with the Chicago Cubs in 2017 and returned to the Yomiuri Giants a year after. Uehara also competed in two Olympic Games, securing a bronze medal in 2004 and 4th place in 2008.