Monday, April 29, 2013

Hideki Back For A Day

When I saw my timeline filled with the "Yankees are signing Hideki Matsui", I thought Brian Cashman had gone 'round the bend. "Where will he play?", I thought.

In fact, Godzilla is going to return for just one day, an inactive one at that. The great Matsui will officially retire as a member of the New York Yankees.

Matsui came to the Yankees in 2003 and spent seven seasons in the pinstripes. He was the the MVP of the 2009 World Series when the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies for their first championship since 2000.

A prodigious slugger in Japan, Matsui never approached the home run totals he put up in the Far East, but Matsui hit 140 in his seven seasons in the Bronx, topped the 100 RBI mark four times, and had an .852 OPS. He was widely popular with the Asian community throughout the US, with Yankees fans, and with his teammates.

Godzilla spent 2010 with the Los Angeles Angels and put up decent numbers - 21 HR, 84 RBI, an .820 OPS - but his production fell off drastically with Oakland in 2011 and he was released after 34 games with Tampa Bay in 2012.

Among his memorable moments in NY:
  • A grand slam in his first home game in 2003.
  • Delivered the game tying double off Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
  • Drove in six runs in the World Series clinching Game 6 in 2009, including a 3-run home run off Martinez.
He's a player that will always be beloved in the Big Apple. As John Sterling says, "He's the Hideki, you know."

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