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.