Fan favorite and baseball icon Hideki Matsui will retire after 10 years in the major leagues, according to sources. Matsui played 10 years in Japan prior to coming to the states before the 2003 season. That year, he finished second in the Rookie Of the Year voting to Kansas City Royals’ shortstop Angel Berroa.
During his tenure in the major leagues with four teams (NYY, LAA, OAK, TB) “Godzilla” hit .282 with 175 homers. His best all-around year came in 2005 with New York when he hit .305 with 23 home runs and 116 RBIs.
However, he will be remembered most for his performance in the 2009 World Series with the Yanks, his final year in New York. He hit .615 (8-for-14) while slugging three home runs against the Phillies en route to capturing his only ring and World Series MVP award. In the deciding Game Six, Matsui went 3-for-6 with a home run, 2 doubles and 6 RBIs, one of the greatest performances in a World Series game, and clincher to boot.
According to ESPN, at the time, Matsui became just the third player in baseball history to hit at least .500 with three homers in the same World Series, joining Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth; pretty good company. He will also be remembered for his durability, as he played in 1,768 straight games to start his professional career before the streak ended in 2006 when he broke his wrist against the Red Sox.
The countdown begins for when Matsui will appear in his first Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium. Whenever that will be, he will be welcomed back with open arms, as he is surely a Yankee for life, even a Yankee legend after his years of clutch play in October.
Thanks number 55 for seven great years.