Former Red Sox pitcher Koji Uehara to retire

Ruben Hill
May 23, 2019

That image of Uehara leaping into the arms of catcher David Ross with his finger pointing to the sky in celebration was one of the more popular images of that season.

Koji Uehara, who turned in one of the most masterful seasons ever by a relief pitcher in a Red Sox uniform, announced his retirement from baseball Sunday. The veteran right-hander made the announcement during a news conference in Tokyo on Monday.

After rejoining Yomiuri past year, Uehara went 0-5 in 36 games with a 3.63 ERA. In his first year in 1999, he went 20-4 and earned both the Sawamura Award as the top pitcher and the Central League Rookie of the Year Award. He was primarily a starter with the Yomiuri Giants before signing with the Orioles, posting a 112-62 record with a 3.01 ERA and 33 saves in his decade in his first stint in Japan. He was dominant in relief that season for the Red Sox and it was Uehara who threw the last pitch in the final game when Boston beat the Cardinals 6-1 to win the World Series. He was named American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player before going on to help the Red Sox win the World Series. He picked up seven saves in the playoffs, two in the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, three in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, and two in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Uehara last pitched in the MLB for the Chicago Cubs in 2017, and he announced his retirement from baseball in Japan. He had 79 saves in his four seasons with the Red Sox, posting a 2.19 ERA and a 0.810 WHiP, striking out 291 batters in 226 innings. He also contributed to the Japanese national team's win at the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 and played at two Olympic Games, winning bronze in 2004 and finishing fourth in 2008.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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