Takeshi Yamasaki, at 44 years old, has now officially retired after 25 years of professional baseball. He played his final game for the Dragons last Saturday in Chunichi's final game of the season. The team did several ceremonial things for his last game, as can be seen in these photos. Yakyubaka has the details of the event including an English translation of his retirement speech. Japanese Baseball Cards also has a nice write-up about Yamasaki's career.
Though he had already moved on from the Dragons when I began following Japanese baseball, I've been a fan of his. There's a lot to like, at least for me, he's from Aichi and went to Aikodai Meiden, he's got the big slowpitch softball swing and even drives a lamborghini. He also authored one of my father-in-laws favorite Dragons' moments:
A walkoff home run from 1999 bringing Chunichi's magic number to five. They eventually held off the Giants and went to the Japan Series that year for the first time since 1988.
He wasn't the most consistent player, but his at-bats were always must-see, he wasn't going to be cheated and a prolific home run could be on the way. I'm glad he could go out as a Dragon.