Since the Yankees let Hideki Matsui go after his 2009 World Series MVP performance, he hasn’t been quite the same. The Angels, Athletics, and Rays all gave him opportunities, but he never performed the way he did in pinstripes. Yesterday, he decided to end his 20 year career, split evenly between Japan and the United States. Across the NPB and MLB, Matsui blasted 507 home runs and may merit Hall of Fame election when his time comes in five years.
Although Matsui did battle some injuries later in his career with the Yanks, he was consistently good when healthy. In his 7 seasons here, he posted a .368 wOBA and 124 wRC+, good for 12th best among outfielders during that span, minimum 3000 PAs.
Matsui was exceptional for the Yankees under October’s bright lights: in 235 plate appearances, he hit .312/.391/.541, with the 2009 World Series MVP in tow. In the regular season, he delivered in the clutch as well: .294/.379/.472 in just under 1500 PAs with runners in scoring position. Baseball-Reference’s “Late and Close” statistic pegged him at .300/.375/.514 in 690 PAs. All in all, Matsui got the job done when needed the most.
I’ll always remember Matsui’s career in New York for his grand entrance..
…and his grand finale:
As weird as it is to think of a guy like Hideki coming to Old-Timers Day down the road, he’s sure to get some of the loudest cheers of the bunch – and deservedly so.