Yesterday, Yomiuri Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe put on his Giants uniform for the last time. During the Giants fanfest, he said goodbye to a packed Tokyo Dome as he was honored in a Shinnosuke Abe Retirement Ceremony.
The forty-year-old catcher was a clear fan favorite, likely because he played his entire career with the Yomiuri Giants.
Abe broke into the NPB in 2001 when he played 127 games for the multiple Japanese champions. In nine of those seasons, his batting average hovered around .300. His lifetime average stands at .284.
During the retirement ceremony, there were video messages from former teammates of Abe: Masayuki Kakefu, Yoshinobu Takahashi, Hideki Matsui, and others.
Next to his extensive career with the Yomiuri Giants, Abe also had a long international career. He was selected Japan national baseball team at the 1997 Intercontinental Cup, 1999 Asian Baseball Championship, 2000 Summer Olympics, 2007 Asian Baseball Championship, 2008 Summer Olympics, 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2012 exhibition games against Cuba and 2013 World Baseball Classic.
He was selected Nippon Professional Baseball All-Stars at the 2004 MLB Japan All-Star Series and the 2006 MLB Japan All-Star Series as well. On November 16, 2018, he was selected for the Yomiuri Giants roster at the 2018 MLB Japan All-Star Series exhibition game against MLB All-Stars.
Next to winning eight Central League championships with the Giants, the former team captain won three NBP championships (2002, 2009 and 2012). During the past season, he reached a fantastic milestone of hitting 400 home runs. Abe ended his career with 406 dingers, 1,285 career RBIs and 2,132 base hits.
In his farewell speech, Abe said: “I was able to play for 19 years thanks to my best friends, leaders, fans, and others. “I ’m grateful for that.”
No doubt that Abe is a fix for the Japanese Hall of Fame.