Koji Uehara

A photo of Koji Uehara.

Koji Uehara (上原 浩治 born April 3, 1975 in Neyagawa, Osaka) is a right handed starting pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan's Central League. He is 186 cm (6 ft 1 in) tall and weighs 86 kg (190 lb).

Japanese baseballEdit

He graduated from Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, and was drafted with the first pick by Giants in 1998. He had a successful rookie year in 1999, with 15 consecutive wins which broke the all-time rookie record, claimed the Rookie of the Year, Sawamura Award, and lead in wins, ERA, strikeouts and winning percentage.

In 2001, he finished with a 4.02 ERA, his highest yet. However, in 2002, he rebounded, leading the Central League in wins and collecting his second Sawamura Award.

He was injured before the 2007 season which made him a late appearance, and in that season, he became a closer instead, recorded an 1.74 ERA with 4 wins, 3 losses and 32 saves. Though showing a good ability both starting and closing, he returned as a starting pitcher in the 2008 season. He is likely to leave Giants after the 2008 season after he had obtained the Free Agency Right, allowing him to play in Major League Baseball.

International competition Edit

Uehara is reknowed of his performance in international competition. He participated in international events since he was in the University, he also participated Olympic Games twice, as well as the first World Baseball Classic, and participated in Asian Baseball Championships. He have 12 wins and 2 saves, without a loss in his 25 appearances from the above events.

He was a member of the Japanese National Baseball team which competed in the 2004 Olympic games in Athens. The team eventually won the bronze medal.

In 2006, he joined Team Japan for the World Baseball Classic and earned 2 wins, improving his unbeaten record in international competition (including amateur appearances) to 12 wins in 21 total appearances. In the World Baseball Classic, team Japan beat team Cuba to win the championship; Uehara led the tournament with 16 strikeouts. He was a closer in 2007 Asian Baseball Championships, played in two games and earned his first international save against Korea.

Through his performance in 2008 was extremely unstable, and even being demoted to farm team in late April. He remains in the 39-out-of-77 men candidate list towards the Beijing Olympics in late June. And was selected as the final 24-men list in mid-July. He was expected to be a set-up pitcher but not a starting pitcher or closer before the Olympic Games, due to his instability in that season, but he remains as an closer in his first appearance against Chinese Taipei, shuts out the game without yielding a hit, winning 6-1. And earns his first Olympic save against Canada, helding a 1-0 victory two days later. However, after the Japan finished fourth in the games, he shows no interest on participating the World Baseball Classic in 2009 in an interview, which meaning that the record was no likely to be extended, or stopped.

Inclination for MLB Edit

Uehara has been asserting his preference in public to be transferred to a Major League Baseball team through the infamous posting system. His efforts have (so far) been rebuffed by the Yomiuri Giants front office. He was expected to be eligible for free agency in 2007 (but now postponed to 2008 due to his injury in last season. And he was finally eligible for FA in 4th, April, 2008. Somewhat ironically, back in 1998 Uehara rejected a contract worth $3 million from the then-Anaheim Angels and signed with Yomiuri instead of following the advice of family and acquaintances. The Angels have expressed their continued interest in Uehara, as Scouting Director Eddie Bane had stated that acquiring either Uehara or Daisuke Matsuzaka is a top priority for the team. However, many other teams, including the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Mets, and Orioles have shown interest in bidding for Uehara if and when he becomes available. He also is a friend of Roger Clemens after Clemens visited Japan in 2004 as a member of MLB all star team. showed a video in which Clemens gave Uehara his game-used black glove with autograph [1].

Personality Edit

Uehara collects other famous players' items as his memories. For example, gloves, bats, caps, shoes, wears and so on.

Career in Japan Edit


1999 Yomiuri Giants 25 20 4 0 12 1 197⅔ 179 49 2.09
2000 Yomiuri Giants 20 9 7 0 6 1 131   126 53 3.57
2001 Yomiuri Giants 24 10 7 0 4 1 138⅔ 108 66 4.02
2002 Yomiuri Giants 26 17 5 0 8 3 204   182 65 2.60
2003 Yomiuri Giants 27 16 5 0 11 1 207⅓ 194 76 3.17
2004 Yomiuri Giants 22 13 5 0 2 0 163   153 54 2.60
2005 Yomiuri Giants 27 9 12 0 6 2 187⅓ 145 73 3.31
2006 Yomiuri Giants 24 8 9 0 5 0 168⅓ 151 67 3.21
2007 Yomiuri Giants 55 4 3 32 0 0 62 66 12 1.74

Career Total

245 104 57 32 54 9 1459⅓ 1304 515 2.96

*Bold = led league

Awards in JapanEdit

1999 Central League Rookie of the Year, Best Nine, Sawamura Award, Gold Glove, ERA, Strikeouts and Wins champion of the Central League
2002 Sawamura Award, Best Nine, Wins champion of the Central League and Japan Series
2003 Gold Glove, Strikeouts champion of the Central League
2004 ERA champion of the year
Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Game 1999-2005, 2007


External linksEdit

Template:Sawamura Award Template:Japan Roster 2006 World Baseball Classic

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