Former Yankee’s slugger, Hideki Matsui (a.k.a. Godzilla) officially retired earlier this summer and will be continuing his goodbye tour in the Philadelphia area on Wednesday. Matsui will be honored by the Trenton Thunder – where he played during a 2006 rehab assignment – prior to their August 28th tilt against the New Britain Rock Cats. Six lucky fans will take home autographed memorabilia.
Phillies fans will most likely remember Matsui as the MVP in the ill-fated 2009 World Series, but Godzilla is arguably the best Japanese position player to grace America’s shores. Before joining the Yankees, Matusi spent 10 years terrorizing the NPB, bashing 332 HR and 889 RBI while maintaining a .304 lifetime batting average. He was a nine time all-star, won three MVP awards and led his team to three Japan Series Championships. If that’s not impressive enough, Matsui’s 1250 consecutive game streak is the second longest in Japanese history.
Godzilla came to New York in 2003, and proved his worth in his second season with the Yankees, hitting .298 with 31 home runs and 108 RBIs. The injury bug finally struck the Japanese iron man in 2005 and his numbers were never quite as gaudy again. But Matsui ended his Yankees career a hero. In the aforementioned 2009 World Series, he won the MVP by going 8 for 13 with 3 HR and 8 RBI. Matsui was not only the first Japanese-born player to take home the honor, but also the first full-time DH to be named MVP.
Matsui has bounced around the past few seasons, playing with the Angels, A’s, and Rays before deciding to hang it up this season. If you’re free this Wednesday, consider taking this opportunity to see a once great Japanese ballplayer one last time in Trenton.