New York Yankees: Former World Series MVP Hideki Matsui Announces Retirement
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Another former Yankee has decided to hang up the cleats for good.
The 38-year-old made headlines back in the winter of 2002 by coming over from Japan to the majors and choosing to sign with the Yankees on a three-year, $21 million deal.
In his first season with the Bombers, Matsui hit .287 with 16 home runs and 106 RBI while making the American League All Star team and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting.
Matsui captured the hearts of the fans in his very first game at Yankee Stadium by crushing a grand slam against the Minnesota Twins in April of 2003.
After his original deal expired, Matsui re-signed with the Yankees after 2005 on a four-year, $52 million deal, which made him the highest-paid Japanese player in MLB at the time.
As he started to get older, Matsui was transitioned from left field to permanent designated hitter duties because of knee injuries.
In the 2009 World Series, Matsui hit .615 (8-for-13) with three home runs and eight RBI. Matsui’s clutch performance in Game 6 against the Phillies helped seal the championship for the Bombers by going 3-for-4 with a home run and six RBI.
For his efforts in that series, Matsui won the 2009 World Series MVP Award.
After 2009, Matsui left the Yankees after seven seasons and signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and hit .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI.
Matsui then joined the Oakland A’s in 2011 and then the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012, but was only on the team for 34 games and got released on August 1.
During those 34 games, Matsui only hit .147 with two home runs and seven RBI.
From 2003-2009, Matsui had an enormous fan base that followed him from Japan, and some even said he had a “rock-star presence” because how popular he was.
Matsui was known for coming up with clutch hits and being a true professional at his craft.
After 10 years of playing in MLB, Matsui retires with 175 career home runs and a .282 batting average
In the future, I’m sure we’ll all see No. 55 don the pinstripes again at Old Timers Games, and he’ll get standing ovations for his contributions while in the Bronx, especially his 2009 World Series performance.
As a Yankee fan, Matsui was one of my favorites in recent times, and it’s sad to see him retire, but like many fans, I’m grateful that I got a chance to see him play, whether it was in New York or on TV.
The Yankees have never replaced the “heart” and “clutch” of both Hidecki Matsui and Johnny Damon. A lot of the reason the Yankees won in 2009 was these two players. It certainly has not been due overall to A-Stiff, The Grandy Man, Robinson “I don’t Want To Know: Cano. They have been basically invisible. “A-Stiff gets a pass for 2009. Great players deliver more than one championship. I really hope the Yankees retire Hidecki’s number. EDB