Former Yankees OF Matsui retires

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Updated: December 27, 2012

Former New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui announced the end of a 10-year major-league career on Thursday.

The New York Post reported that the 38-year-old native of Japan called it
quits at a press conference in Manhattan.

Matsui came to North America in 2003, following a successful 10-year stint
with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League. He landed in the
Bronx, and made a splash as the first player in club lore to hit a grand slam
in his Yankee debut, coming on Apr. 8, 2003 against Minnesota.

“Hideki is proof that baseball is an international attraction that brings
people from all over the world together in their passion for the game. He was
the type of player and person you want young fans of this game to emulate,”
said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. “He played with pride, discipline
and of course talent, and flourished when the lights were at their brightest.
People naturally gravitated towards him, and that’s a direct reflection of his
character. He was a true professional in every sense of the word and it feels
good knowing he was able to raise the championship trophy as a member of the
Yankees.”

In seven seasons with New York, Matsui collected 140 home runs, 196 doubles
and 597 RBI with a .292 average in 916 regular-season games, and won World
Series MVP honors in 2009 after hitting a scorching .615 with three homers and
eight RBI in a six-game triumph over defending-champion Philadelphia.

He etched his name in franchise postseason lore with a monster performance in
the deciding Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, erupting for six RBI in a 7-3
victory — tying the mark set by the Yankees’ Bobby Richardson in an Oct. 8,
1960 Game 3 victory against Pittsburgh.

Matsui played for three different clubs over the last three seasons, spending
2010 with the Angels, 2011 with Oakland and last season with Tampa Bay. The
left-handed slugger managed just two homers and seven runs batted in over 34
games for the Rays, with a career-low .147 average.

“I’ve said it numerous times over the years, but it’s worth repeating now.
I’ve had a lot of teammates over the years with the Yankees, but I will always
consider Hideki one of my favorites. The way he went about his business day
in and day out was impressive,” remarked Yankees captain Derek Jeter. “I have
a lot of respect for Hideki. He was someone we counted on a great deal and
he’s a big reason why we became World Champions in 2009.”

All told, Matsui ended up with a .282 average, 175 homers and 760 RBI over
1,236 games. In 56 games over 11 postseason series, “Godzilla” struck for 10
long balls, 15 doubles, 39 RBI and hit a robust .312. He was a two-time All-
Star selection who finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2003.