September 15, 2013
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Barry Chin/Globe Staff
By almost every statistical measure, Koji Uehara has been the best relief pitcher in the American League.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images/File 2006
He got his start in college and worked his way to games like the World Baseball Classic in 2006.
Koji Sasahara/AP/File 2002
Former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler played with Uehara for the Yomiuri Giants in 2005.
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images/File 2006
"He was the Greg Maddux of Japan, somebody with great control," said Kapler, now an analyst for Fox Sports 1.
Shizuo Kambayashi/AP/File 2002
Barry Bonds held his bat upside down after he was struck out by Uehara during the opening game of the Japan-US all-star baseball series.
Those experiences only added to Uehara's desire to play in the majors.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images/File 2009
Uehara came to Major League Baseball when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
Rob Carr/Getty Images/File 2011
"As a teammate, I think he was one of the best teammates I ever had," said Orioles center fielder Adam Jones.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/File 2011
Uehara was traded to the Texas Rangers. His wife and son live in Baltimore during the season and often for a few weeks after.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/file 2011
When the Red Sox offered him a one-year contract worth $4.25 million, he took it.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff/file
Only in recent weeks have the souvenir stands at Fenway Park sold T-shirts bearing his name and No. 19.
JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF
For now, the only thing that matters to him is continuing this unprecedented run.
Winslow Townson/Getty Images/File 2013
"I can't lose focus on what I'm doing," he said. "I think about the next pitch, the next batter. That's it."