JockBio Vital Stats
  • Pitcher • #11 • Texas Rangers
  • Height: 6' 5"
• Weight: 216 • Born: 8/16/86
  • In grade school, none of Yu’s classmates would play Dodgeball with him. He threw too hard.
  • As a high school pitcher, Yu had a 1.10 ERA and struck out more than a batter an inning.
  • Yu was just the 12th Japanese pitcher to win his debut after jumping directly from high school to the pros.
  • At 21, Yu signed a 200 million yen contract with the Fighters. He was the youngest player ever to reach that salary level. At 23, he was the youngest to reach 300 million yen.
  • In 2007, Yu became just the second pitcher in Japanese history to fire back-to-back 14-strikeout games. 
  • Yu’s 24 strikeouts in the 2007 Japan Series set a record for a five-game series.
  • After the 2007 season, Yu took home the MVP and Samurai Awards, as well as Gold Glove and Best Nine honors.
  • Yu was just the third player tow in two Japan League MVP awards in his first five seasons. The first two were Kazuhisa Inao and Ichiro Suzuki.
  • In order to compete for Japan in the 2008 Olympics, Yu had to declare himself a full Japanese citizen and renounce his dual Iranian citizenship.
  • The first major leaguer Yu struck out was Dustin Ackley. He yielded his first hit to Ichiro.
  • In Yu’s third big-league game, he beat Hiroki Kuroda of the New York Yankees. The game was televised live in Japan.
  • Yu endorses DyDo Coffee in Japan. He took over as the company’s celebrity spokesman from former teammates Tsuyoshi Shinjo.
  • Yu’s father was a Dallas Cowboys fan when he attended school in the U.S.
  • In 2007, Yu married TV actress Saeko. They had two sons and divorced in 2012.
  • Part of Yu’s warm-up routine is throwing pitches left- and right-handed. He believes this keeps his body in balance.




Ichiro Suzuki,
Black Book Partners archives


Tsuyoshi Shinjo,
Black Book Partners archives

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