I like ol' Hideki Matsui. He just seems like a nice guy and he put together a decent career in the US. Not a record-breaker like his countryman Ichiro Suzuki, of course, but a hard-working slugger with an understanding of the team concept. A big man, too. Our Wednesday English club has been using a short biography of Matsui for language practice and from that I've learned this guy was close to 200 pounds when he was in junior high. I didn't reach that weight until I was in my 30s and I looked like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
If I'm reading the stats correctly, Matsui finished second in the rookie of the year voting in 2003, made a couple of All Star teams, garnered a few votes here and there for MVP. His best year was 2005 when he hit .305, blasted 23 home runs and drove in 116 RBIs. He was durable his first three seasons, playing in all 162 games and he twice had more than 600 at-bats in a season-- with 704 plate appearances in 2005. Plus, he was the 2009 World Series MVP.
Hmm. He actually played in one hundred sixty-THREE games in 2003.
Well, Matsui will sign a one-day minor league contract and retire a Yankee, which is fitting. Whatever else you can say about the Yankees, they do tend to respect their past. A guy who leads you to a world championship definitely deserves some end-of-career honors.
So to you, Hideki Matsui, from this Atlanta Braves fan-- well done! Thanks for making American baseball that much better while you were here and all the best in whatever you choose to do from here on out!