Hideki Matsui is one of the most beloved New York Yankees stars of the past decade, and the team has chosen to honor him with a one-day contract so he can retire in pinstripes, reports George King of the New York Post.
Even though Matsui officially announced the end of his career in December, he still plans on retiring as a Yankee later this summer. King continues on to say that the Yankees have a Bobblehead Day planned for Matsui on July 28 at Yankee Stadium, a likely time for his retirement to occur.
Matsui was one of the classiest players in baseball during his 10-year major league career. He epitomized sportsmanship and what it meant to play hard on a daily basis, making it obvious as to why the Yankees would choose to have a day set aside this summer just for him.
In seven seasons with the Yankees, "Godzilla" crushed 140 home runs, drove in 597 runs and hit .292/.370/.482 with an OPS of .852. He was an All-Star in 2003 and 2004—his rookie and sophomore seasons—and finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
He finished 14th in the 2005 AL MVP voting, putting together arguably his strongest season performance. He hit .305/.367/.496 with 23 home runs, 116 RBI and a career-high 192 hits.
From 2006 on, though, Matsui experienced problems with his knees, missing over 100 games in 2006 and over 60 games in 2008. He was primarily a designated hitter during his last season with the Yankees in 2009, and further established himself as a Yankee great during the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
In the series, he hit .615 (8-13) with three home runs and eight RBI en route to the World Series MVP award—the first by a Japanese-born player.
The Yankees chose to let him walk after the World Series. Matsui could not have finished his pinstriped-career on a better note.
He continued to play for three more seasons, spending a season each with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. While a solid contributor for the Angels, he failed to make an impact with either the A's or Rays.
Matsui will be retiring as one of the most successful Japanese-born players in the majors of all time. His on-field performance was bested only by his off-field character, and Yankees fans will be happy to know that one of their most popular players from the past 10 years will be retiring in pinstripes.
July 28 should be a great day at the Stadium, one that Matsui will likely remember for the rest of his life.