Most in Tigers History!
Murton Signs 450 Million Yen Contract: “Just want to win”
Next Season Murton Ties Kirkland and “god” Randy Bass for Longest Stay with Team
The Tigers announced that on the 16th in Knoxville, Tennessee, they signed a one-year contract with outfielder Matt Murton (33) for next season. His salary is the highest given to a foreigner in team history at $3.9 million (around 450 million yen). By playing next year, his sixth with the team, he will tie the team record for longest tenure by a foreigner. “I just want to win the championship,” he said as he reflected on winning the batting title with a .338 average and on falling short of winning it all this season.
He was all business, showing up in a sharp-looking suit. All he wants is the championship. He signed his contract while back in America. Next year will mark his sixth year with the Tigers.
“I’ve decided to come back to the Tigers for a sixth season.”
The comment was announced via the club. His sixth year will tie him for the longest tenure by a foreign player with Willie Kirkland (1968-1973) and Randy Bass (1983-1988). The line of legendary foreigners just got longer.
His salary comes as a surprise. His previous record $3.5 million contract goes up $400,000 to $3.9 million (around 450 million yen). It puts him in a class of his own when it comes to foreign athletes in Japanese professional baseball.
Of course, he has proven himself worthy of such a high salary based on his work since joining the club. In his first year (2010), he broke the single-season record for most hits with 214. It broke Ichiro’s previous Japanese high of 210. He won the batting title with a .338 average this season while reaching the 1000-hit milestone (US & Japan combined) as well. He already has a case for being called the greatest import in team history. But the one thing missing is the title. A championship for the team.
“This season we got to the Nippon Series but I’m disappointed that we were not able to win. I’m not thinking about personal stats for next year – all I want to do is win a title.”
This year the team finished in second place, 7 games behind the Giants. They swept through the Climax Series on their way to the Nippon Series, but failed to close out the season on a winning note.
The personal records did not translate into the team’s success. Heading into the team’s 80th season, only one word matters: Championship.
Randy Bass, who won the Triple Crown two consecutive years (1985-86) led the team to their first league title in 21 years as well as the Nippon Series Championship. On the other hand, Murton has been named to the all-league team four times, including two in a row, surpassing Bass’ three – a club record. Next year, he hopes to be able to enjoy the sweet taste of victory champagne, just as the great Bass did.
“I am always thankful for the Tigers fans’ warm support.”
Murton has always responded to the Tigers faithful. Now in his sixth year, the challenge of bringing the club its first league title in 10 years and first Nippon Series in 30 years, is on.