Biography of Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish is a Japanese professional baseball starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball and a YouTuber. Darvish previously played in MLB for the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers and in Nippon Professional Baseball for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. In international play, Darvish pitched in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic as a member of the Japanese national team.
Yu Darvish was considered by many to be the best pitcher in Japanese professional baseball prior to his arrival in Major League Baseball in 2012. In his first MLB season, Darvish finished third in the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year balloting. The next season, he finished second in the AL Cy Young Award vote as he led the Major Leagues in strikeouts with 277 and finished fourth in the AL in earned run average (ERA) at 2.83. On 6 April 2014, Darvish reached the 500 strikeout mark in fewer innings pitched than any starting pitcher in MLB history.
Darvish was born Farid Yu Darvishsefat (ダルビッシュ・セファット・ファリード・有) in Habikino, Osaka, to a Japanese mother, Ikuyo and Iranian father, Farsad Darvishsefat. His father played for the Florida State University soccer team. His grandfather owned a travel agency in Iran and decided to send his son Farsad to the United States in 1977 to attend high school in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, where he also raced competitively in motocross.
High school career
Darvish became Tohoku High’s ace pitcher by the fall of his first year (the equivalent of tenth grade in the United States) and led his team to four straight appearances in national tournaments held at Koshien Stadium in his junior and senior years, twice in the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament held in the spring and twice in the National High School Baseball Championship in the summer.
Darvish led his team to the finals of the 85th National High School Baseball Championship in the summer of 2003, but gave up four runs to Joso Gakuin High School (whose No. 3 hitter, second baseman Katsuhiko Saka, currently plays for the Hanshin Tigers), the Ibaraki champions, in a complete-game loss.
Darvish attracted national attention when he pitched a no-hitter against Kumamoto Technical High School in the first round of the 76th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament as a senior on 26 March 2004. Though the team lost in the quarter-finals despite stellar outings by Darvish and sidearmer Kenji Makabe (currently with Honda Motor Company’s industrial league team), many saw Darvish as the best high school pitcher in the country by that time.
He pitched 12 games and put up a 7–3 record with 87 strikeouts in 92 innings pitched and a 1.47 ERA in his four national tournament appearances, and posted a 1.10 ERA for his high school career, striking out 375 in 332⅓ innings (67 appearances).
Darvish received further publicity when he was caught smoking in a pachinko parlor on an off-day during his first Spring training in 2005, despite not being old enough to legally smoke nor to gamble at the time. The incident prompted his high school to suspend him, and the Fighters to place him under probation for an indefinite period and order him to participate in community service.
Despite his suspension, Darvish made his professional debut later that season, taking the mound in an interleague game against the Carp on 15 June. Though he gave up back-to-back solo home runs in the ninth, he pitched 8+ innings on those two runs alone and earned the win, becoming the 12th pitcher in NPB history to earn a win in one’s professional debut as a rookie straight out of high school.
He recorded his first complete-game win on 6 August against the Lions and his first complete-game shutout on 18 September, holding the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to just two hits and becoming only the 14th pitcher in NPB history to throw a complete-game shutout as a rookie out of high school. He finished the season with a 5–5 record in 14 starts, throwing 94⅓ innings with an ERA of 3.53.
Named the ace of the Japanese national team by manager Senichi Hoshino in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Yu Darvish took the hill in Japan’s first game of the preliminary round against Cuba on 13 August but was charged with the loss after giving up four runs in 4 innings. The subpar outing caused Hoshino to lose faith in him and scratch Darvish from the semi-finals that he had penciled him in for, sending Darvish to the mound only in situations that would have no bearing on Japan’s fate in the tournament.
Darvish started the last game of the preliminary round against the United States on 20 August and was brought in to mop up after the U.S. had taken a decisive lead in the bronze medal match, finishing the tournament 0–1 with a 5.14 ERA (albeit with 10 strikeouts in seven innings pitched).
Darvish is a right-handed pitcher who throws from a three-quarter arm slot in a drop-and-drive motion. Yu Darvish has a large frame for a pitcher, listed at 6 ft 5 in and 220 lb. Darvish throws a four-seam fastball which averages 93–95 mph (tops out at 99 mph) as well as a hard slurve (slider) in the low 80s with a sharp break. Yu Darvish complements these two with a wide repertoire of secondary pitches, including a two-seam fastball (also described as a shuuto), a cutter, two curveballs, a splitter, and an occasional changeup.
Darvish has a “fast curve” and a “slow curve”, the former averaging about 80 mph and the latter about 71. The slow curve is almost exclusively used in no-strike and 1-strike counts, while the fast curve is mostly used in 2-strike counts. Some professional scouts consider Darvish to have the best repertoire of quality pitches, including the best slider, in all of Major League Baseball. In August 2019, Darvish learned a knuckle-curve from Cubs teammate Craig Kimbrel and began using the pitch.
In August 2007, Darvish acknowledged a relationship with the Japanese model and actress Saeko. He announced later that Saeko was pregnant with their son. They married on 11 November 2007, and their son was born in March 2008. Their second child, a boy, was born in February 2010. Darvish’s divorce from Saeko was finalized on the same day that he officially signed with the Rangers.
Darvish established a humanitarian fund dedicated to the construction, installation, and maintenance of wells, well pumps, and rainwater storage facilities in developing countries called the “Yu Darvish Water Fund” in February 2007. He has announced plans to contribute to this fund by donating 100,000 yen each time he notches a regular-season win. The fund is managed by the Japan Water Forum.
- Full Name: Farid Yu Darvishsefat
- Date of Birth: August 16, 1986
- Age: 33 years
- Birth Place: Osaka, Japan
- Height: 1.96 m
- Salary: 20 million USD (2019)
- Current team: Chicago Cubs (#11 / Pitcher)
- Spouse: Seiko Yamamoto (m. 2016), Saeko (m. 2007–2012)
- Parents: Farsad Darvish, Ikuyo
- Net Worth: $23 million
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