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He walks the streets of Boston anonymously, no autograph seekers in his wake. Only in recent weeks have the souvenir stands at Fenway Park sold T-shirts bearing his name and No. 19.
Not even his favorite Japanese barbecue restaurant saves a table for Koji Uehara, the nearly perfect pitcher of the Red Sox and the most valuable player of this surprising season.
“I came here to play baseball and to win games,” Uehara said, “not to be famous. That doesn’t matter to me.”
But accomplishments have trumped his modesty. At the age of 38, Uehara is having one of the best seasons for a reliever in baseball history. As the first-place Red Sox prepare for the postseason, Uehara will have a central role.