The practice mound where Daisuke pitched in high school is untouched by today’s players. It is considered a monument to doryoku, Japanese for maximum effort.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies offered Daisuke a $3 million bonus to sign out of high school, but the Seibu Lions paid him five times as much to stay in Japan.
Daisuke’s confidence was a rare thing in Japan. After being drafted by the Lions, he announced that he would win Rookie of the Year.
Daisuke was the top vote-getter in Japan’s 1999 All-Star Game. It marked the first time in 29 years that a rookie had received the most fan ballots.
Daisuke’s injury-plagued 2002 season was the only one in which he failed to lead Japan’s Pacific League in a major pitching category.
When Daisuke tied Kazumi Saitoh for the 2003 ERA title, it marked the first time in PL history this had happened. Both players had exactly the same number of innings pitched and earned runs.
Daisuke led all pitchers with 20 strikeouts during the 2004 Olympics. His fastball was clocked at 100 mph. He was the first Japanese pitcher ever to hit triple digits on the radar gun.
In 2005, Daisuke led the PL in strikeouts and complete games, and tied for the league lead with three shutouts.
Daisuke hit his first professional home run in 2006 off Darwin Cubillan of the Hanshin Tigers.
Daisuke held opposing hitters to a .178 batting average in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Daisuke’s record in Japan was 108–60 with a 2.95 ERA and 1,355 strikeouts over 1,402.2 innings.
Daisuke averaged a complete game every three starts in Japan. The MLB average in one every 33 starts.
Daisuke won six Gold Gloves for his fielding in Japan.
In 2007, Daisuke led major league rookies in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.
Daisuke’s 15 wins in 2007 broke the record of 14 by a Japanese-born rookie, held by Kaz Iishi. He was also the first rookie to make 32 starts since 1912. His 201 strikeouts broke the Boston rookie record set by Ken Brett.
In 2007, Daisuke became the third Red Sox pitcher to knock in two runs in a World Series game. The first two were Cy Young and Babe Ruth.
Daisuke’s 17th victory of 2008 broke the record for Japanese pitchers set by Hideo Nomo.
Daisuke is able to vary the speed and movement on his pitches with slight changes in fingertip pressure. He and Greg Maddux are among the few pitchers who have been able to do this effectively.
One of the big adjustments Daisuke had to make coming from Japan was pitching every fifth day instead of every sixth. Another adjustment was the difference between the baseballs in America and Japan. The American ball is harder, which makes it harder to grip.
Daisuke wears number 18, the same number he wore in Japan. The number is traditionally worn by a Japanese team’s top pitcher. The previous owner of 18 in Boston was Johnny Damon.
In 2008, Daisuke released a CD entitled "Music From The Mound." It is a compilation of songs from English and Japanese artists as selected by the Red Sox pitcher, and also includes a new song called "Gyroball."
Daisuke and his wife Tomoyo Shibata have a daughter and a son. Tomoyo is a former television personality.
The #1 tourist attraction in the village of Wakkanai is the Daisuke Matsuzaka Museum.