Hideki Matsui officially retired from Major League Baseball as a member of the New York Yankees on Sunday, signing a one-day contract with the team so he could enjoy a ceremonial goodbye. The Yankees gave Matsui an excellent parting gift: a dramatic 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Matsui expressed his gratitude to the Yankees organization and the fans:
I’d like to thank the Yankees organization, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me this opportunity. I officially announced my retirement last year, but to be able to come back in this manner. At the time, I never really imagined having this type of opportunity.
To become a member of the Yankees and retire as a Yankee, I’m just so humbled and honored (Reuters).
Matsui was a two-time All-Star during his seven seasons with the Yankees. He hit .292 with 140 home runs and 597 RBI and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 World Series.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spoke about the Japanese star:
Hideki represents everything the Yankees aspire to be. I’m wearing a ring on this finger, this particular ring – the 2009 ring – thanks to Hideki Matsui’s efforts. That’s one of the reasons we gravitated to him.