Hideki Matsui enjoyed a successful career playing professional baseball. He is a well-known player in the Japanese Baseball League and the MLB. In Japan, he was a three-time Japan series champion, and he won a World Series title in the MLB.
In his first two seasons in the MLB, Matsui quickly made a name for himself. Before making his debut in the MLB, Matsui was already widely regarded as a top player, and he certainly lived up to the hype.
Hideki Matsui’s career with the New York Yankees
In December of 2002, Matsui signed with the Yankees. During the 2003 season, he became the first Yankee to hit a grand slam in his first game. Matsui was a talented hitter from the left side of the plate. He possessed a lot of power and was disciplined, as well. After his rookie season, he hit .287 with 16 home runs and 106 RBIs. He was named to the all-star team in his first season and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting.
The next season Matsui saw his numbers increase even more. He batted .298 with 31 home runs and 108 RBIs. Matsui made his second straight all-star team in just his second season in the MLB. The outfielder quickly became one of the Yankees top players early in his career. In his third season, he hit .305, which was the highest average of his career. Playing in Japan before coming to the MLB, helped Matsui a lot.
Matsui spent his first seven seasons playing for the Yankees. In 2009, his last season with the Yankees, he won his first World Series title. The Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2, and Matsui played exceptionally during that series. He was named the World Series MVP finishing with a .615 batting average, three home runs, and eight RBIs. In the big moment, Matsui stepped up and proved himself. He played a critical factor in the Yankees title run, and it paid off in the end.
Hideki Matsui’s career after the Yankees
After his time in New York, Matsui agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. It was a bittersweet feeling when he left New York because he had a lot of success there, and that was the first team to give him a shot in the majors. In his lone season with the Angels, he hit .274 at the plate.
At the end of the season, Matsui found himself as a free agent and was looking for a team to sign him. He stayed in California a signed with the Oakland Athletics. He hit his 500th career home run as a member of the Athletics. In 2012, Matsui spent his final season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He did not have the same success that he had early in his career. He finished his MLB career with a .282 batting average, 175 home runs, and 760 RBIs.
Hideki Matsui returned to the Yankees after he retired
In 2013, Matsui decided to sign a one-day minor league contract with the Yankees so he could retire with the team. Two years later, the Yankees announced that Matsui would be named a Special Advisor to the General Manager.
He worked closely with General Manager Brian Cashman and Player Development Vice President Gary Denbo. During the 2015 season, Matsui did a lot of traveling in the Yankees’ organization and focused on hitting, advising hitting coaches, players, and managers. Matsui ended up working with the team that gave him a shot in the league and continued to be around the game of baseball.