July 19, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Hideki Matsui (35) at bat against the Cleveland Indians at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bidding Hideki Matsui Farewell

It is always unfortunate when a star player hangs on for too long. When they have become a shadow of themselves, simply unable to recapture their past glory despite all the effort they put into their craft in an attempt to feel that magic once again. When they continue to hang on, unable to come to grips with the reality that their skills have eroded to the point of no return.

And so, Hideki Matsui has decided to retire, approximately five months after his career ended ingloriously after being released by the Rays. While Matsui did have his moments in a Rays uniform, most notably hitting a home run in his second at bat as a member of the organization, it had become apparent early on that Matsui just did not have anything left. After 105 plate appearances spanning 34 games and a batting line of .147/.214/.221, the end came rather quickly.

However, that does not diminish what Matsui was for most of his career. Following the success of Ichiro Suzuki, Matsui was the first real power hitter to transition over from Japan, slugging 175 home runs over his career, with a high of 31 in 2004. An extremely durable player in his prime, Matsui began his career by appearing in 1768 consecutive games between New York and Japan before breaking his wrist in 2006. He was a two time All-Star, the MVP of the 2009 World Series, and will be remembered as a beloved figure in the annuls of New York Yankees lore.

In the end, Matsui was unable to outpace Father Time. Even though the Rays did not get him at his best, Hideki Matsui was still an excellent player over his career, and was well deserving of the praise and accolades he received during his time in the MLB.

Tags: Hideki Matsui New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays

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