Right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa officially retired earlier this week, after pitching in his final game for the Hanshin Tigers on Tuesday. The 40-year-old Fujikawa tossed a 1-2-3 inning to close the book on an outstanding pro career that included three Major League seasons.
North American fans best remember Fujikawa from his three seasons with the Cubs and Rangers from 2013-15, though that stint was hardly indicative of Fujikawa at his finest. Signing with Chicago on a two-year, $9.5MM contract in December 2012, Fujikawa appeared in only 12 games before undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing much of the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Overall, Fujikawa managed only a 5.74 ERA over 26 2/3 innings in Major League Baseball.
In Japan, however, Fujikawa rose to legendary status over 17 seasons in the Hanshin Tigers bullpen. Fujikawa posted a 2.08 ERA, 11.7 K/9, 3.60 K/BB rate, and 243 saves over 935 1/3 career innings with the Tigers, acting as both a top setup man and closer. Fujikawa was a big contributor in the last two Tigers teams to reach the Japan Series (in 2003 and 2005, though the Curse Of The Colonel remained intact).
We at MLBTR wish Fujikawa all the best in retirement, and congratulate him on a fine career.
From 2004-2012 he went on a stellar run in Japan. Makes sense a major league team wanted his services.
he had the makings of a great BP weapon but the injuries thought otherwise
See you in Cooperstown Kyuji.
Admission is $34.95
And what was YOUR stat line in the majors?
What was yours? People act like you cannot criticize people unless you are better at them at what they do.
Easy there hiflew you shouldn’t be talking about being critical. Someone says boo about the Rockies and you respond like someone violated your basic rights. Settle down.
It’s too bad injuries kept him from really getting a shot in the majors. He was obviously one of the best relievers of all time in Japan and had it not been for the unfortunate timing of his injury — he probably could have been a really effective reliever in the majors. I mean just look at a guy like Koji Ueharra… he was dominant for several years with the Red Sox (amongst other teams) and Fujikawa was much better than him (in Japan)… just sucks… what could have been… (I know Ueharra was also a SP in Japan… but still the point remains. Guys like Saito, etc have proven great relievers in Japan can be great in the majors too… just too bad he never really got a chance)
Check out Fujikawa’s post-MLB stats as a Hanshin Tigers set-up man. Not his dominant best, but still awfully good.
Remember that 2014 baseball of him that was not the most flattering picture of him lol
Dang such a great magician on the mound
I don’t remember him on the cubs at all. I thought he wasn’t another Japanese player the cubs briefly had. He was also on the red Sox.
The cubs also had another player that was on the world series teamm. Dont remember his name. He wore #66 though.