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Chicago Shimpo

White Sox Honor Former Teammate Iguchi on His Retirement


Former White Sox infielder Tadahito Iguchi returned to the Guaranteed Rate Field on September 28 to throw the ceremonial first pitch after his retirement from the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan on September 24.

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said, “Because we love him, it was an honor for him to play for us as the World Series team, and we knew he was retiring, so we thought that it would be a nice thing for him to come back once more time.”

Is there any possibility that Iguchi rejoins Sox? “I would love to have him come back here. But I think that he has other plans in Japan,” Reinsdorf said with a smile.

Iguchi appeared in the field wearing a Sox jersey with his former uniform number 15. He said to Shimpo, “This is the first time for me to throw the ceremonial first pitch in Chicago, and I’m looking forward to do it. I’m very delighted to come back here and thankful for the invitation.” After his retirement from baseball after 21 seasons, he said, “I’ve already taken the next step toward a new goal. It’ll be different from my former career, but I want to give back to the people who have long supported me.”

Consul General of Japan Naoki Ito presented a certificate of appreciation to Iguchi in recognition of his contributions to promote the friendship between the U.S. and Japan through baseball. Consul General Ito also gave him a plaque decorated with three flags of Japan, the U.S. and Chicago. Ito said that he wanted to do something for Iguchi when he had heard of Iguchi’s visit to Sox.

Iguchi’s former teammates and friends including Ozney Guillén, Paul Konerko, Kenny Willams, Geoff Blum, and Jerry Reinsdorf sent him warm welcoming messages through the big screen in the field. They worked hard to win the 2005 World Series Title together.

After Iguchi threw the ceremonial first pitch, Sox’s last home game started with the LA Angels.

Sox had a three run lead in the fourth inning, but allowed Angels to score four runs. In the sixth inning, Rob Brantly hit a home run to make the score even. Waves ran through the stands.

In the 10th inning, Nicky Delmonico hit a walk-off homer, and Sox beat Angels by 6 to 4. Congratulations!

Iguchi was seen through the window of a VIP room. He was watching the game with his daughter.

Many people in the field or the gate hall gave him a big hug. He was really welcomed by the Sox people.

A photo of Iguchi’s fine play is framed and still hung in on the wall of a VIP room. He entered the room and took some photos with the frame.

Tadahito Iguchi joined the White Sox in 2005 and contributed to win the World Series Title. He shared the excitement of MLB games with Japanese people both in Chicago and Japan.

On May 20 of 2006, Cubs’ Michael Barrett collided with Sox’s A. J. Pierzynski and punched his jaw, triggering a bench-clearing brawl. After the brawl, the field was filled with uncanny silence. It was Tadahito Iguchi, who hit a big home run and broke a stone-cold atmosphere, and enthusiasm returned to the field. He left an unforgettable baseball scene.

Iguchi moved to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, then the San Diego Padres in 2008 and returned to Phillies in the same year. He was offered the second base position by Lotte and he returned to Japan in the 2009 season.

According to Kyodo News dated September 23, Iguchi was offered to become the Manager in Lotte. If he accepts it, he will be the first baseball manager in Japan, who experienced MLB.

In his MLB career which also included stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, Iguchi batted .268 with 494 hits, 44 homers, 205 RBIs and 48 stolen bases in 493 games


Tadahito Iguchi receives a certificate of appreciation from Consal General Naoki Ito
Former Manager Ozney Guillén speaks about his memories of Iguchi
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf sends welcome messages to Iguchi.
 

Iguchi smiles with his photo in a VIP room.