Koji calls it quits
Well, what a career this guy had.
No, this isn't gonna be sarcastic like it was with that dude who signed with the New England Patriots last week and retired this week. This is sincere. According to ESPN, Koji Uehara finally called it a career this week. The 44-year-old former Boston Red Sox closer is no longer a pro baseball player. Now this is an excellent career worth celebrating.
The longevity alone is truly incredible. He was a member of the Yomiuri Giants this season and last year--the Japanese pro team he played for from 1999 to 2008 before coming to America. So, in other words, he had a very long baseball career.
We all remember him as the closer of the 2013 Boston Red Sox, but it's worth noting how that was far from the original plan. Yeah, he was productive with Baltimore and Texas, but he wasn't the original Red Sox closer that season. Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey were supposed to be, but both of them got hurt. That said, he was kind of their No. 3 choice and it worked out brilliantly. The guy had a 1.09 ERA in 73 games and came in seventh in the Cy Young Award voting. His second half pitching performance was among the most dominant in recent memory.
Oh yeah, and he was not only an All-Star in 2014, but a productive closer in 2015 and 2016 as well--although Craig Kimbrel was the actual closer in 2016.
But yeah, what Uehara did over the course of his Red Sox career posting a 2.19 ERA in 141 relief appearances is truly impressive. He should be a Red Sox Hall of Famer if they even still do that stuff anymore.
Congrats to Koji on the great career, and thank you to him for 2013.