Koji Uehara, a Japanese professional baseball player, announced his retirement on a press conference in Tokyo, Japan last May 21, 2019. He first played for the Yomiuri Giants in 1999 before he joined the Major League Baseball (MLB) in 2009. Uehara pitched for the Boston Red Sox where he became a World Series champion. 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 added that he failed to give his 100% on his performance during this season. He chose to end his MLB career with 95 saves and a 2.66 earned run average (ERA).

The 44-year old right-handed pitcher was a rookie of the year in 1999 and gained the Sawamura Award, Japan’s most outstanding starting pitcher award. In 10 years, he garnered 112 wins, 33 saves and a .301 ERA. He moved to the US and accepted the deals with the Baltimore Orioles in 2009 and Texas Rangers in 2011. He also played for the Boston Red Sox from 2013 to 2016 and became the Most Valuable Player in the American League Championship Series. After three years of pitching for the Red Sox, he played for the Chicago Cubs for a year and went back to the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball. Uehara also received a bronze medal and was a fourth-place finisher in two Olympic Games.