Kazuhiro Sasaki Wins Rookie Of The Year (Turn Back The Clock)
This day in Seattle Mariners history takes us to November 5, 2000, the day Kazuhiro Sasaki became the 2nd-oldest player to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Sasaki, who played 10 seasons in Japan prior to coming to Seattle, won the award at the age of 32 years, 8 months and 13 days. Sam Jethroe of the Boston Braves was 33 days older when he won the award in 1950.
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In his rookie campaign, Sasaki had a record of 2-5 in 63 appearances with a 3.16 ERA and 37 saves – a Major League record for rookies until Neftali Feliz saved 40 as a rookie in 2010. Sasaki would go on to set a Mariners franchise record with 45 saves the following season – which was just broken by Fernando Rodney this season.
In four years in Seattle, Sasaki compiled a 7-16 record in 228 appearances with an ERA of 3.14. He collected 129 saves in 151 opportunities (85%). He was an All-Star in both 2001 and 2002 and was the 3rd head in the three-headed bullpen monster that included Jeff Nelson and Arthur Rhodes at the turn of the century.
Sasaki returned to Japan after the 2003 season after stating he wished to spend more time with family. But it was later revealed that he returned to Japan because of pressure by ownership due to his “indiscreet philandering.”
Other items of note from this day in MLB history:
2005: At their annual meeting, baseball’s general managers vote 25-5 in favor of using instant replays on a limited basis. The proposal, would be utilized only in determining home run calls in doubt due to possible fan interference, balls clearing the fence, and balls near or over the foul pole. It was the beginning of the more widespread replay we see in the game today.