One of the most successful Japanese players in Major League Baseball history has decided to retire Thursday. Former New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui announced his retirement from baseball after playing 10 seasons in the majors to go along with 10 seasons in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants. Matsui last played for the Tampa Bay Rays before being released in August.
The Yankees signed him in December 2002 and HE automatically made an impact with the team. His contract for four years, $52 million was the highest for a Japanese player at the time.
The first memory he created with the Yankees was in his first game at Yankee Stadium against the Minnesota Twins. Matsui hit a home run off Joe Mays in the fifth inning putting in the minds of every Yankees fan that Matsui was the real deal.
However, Matsui did not get a World Series appearance until the 2009 season when New York faced off against the Philadelphia Phillies. New York won the series in six games and despite only playing half of those games because of the DH effect, Matsui was named World Series MVP hitting three home runs, driving in eight RBI and batting .615/.643/1.385 in 13 at-bats.
He would not return to the Yankees after that season and in the latter part of his career, Matsui played for the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Rays not spending more than one season with either team.
This off-season, Matsui was still drawing some interest from teams looking for a DH. However, it seemed like only the Houston Astros ever had real discussions about him.
Matsui ends his career with 175 home runs, 760 RBI and a .282 batting average.
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