Kubota, a master bat maker, announces retirement

Kyodo

The craftsman whose bats have launched thousands of big league hits for Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui is calling it quits after half a century at his craft.

Master bat maker Isokazu Kubota told a news conference on Tuesday that having trained the next generation of craftsmen, he is retiring due to his age.

“For 55 years, the support and guidance I’ve received from pro baseball players has been my strength,” said the 70-year-old Kubota.

Kubota received a message from Matsui that said, “I’m proud to have used Kubota-san’s bats in every at-bat of every game of my pro career.”

Two craftsmen in their 40s who will carry on Kubota’s work from April were told by the master, “These are more than products, they are essential tools that influence the results players get.”