Hideki Matsui on the 2003 doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, Shea
Hideki Matsui, one of the greatest Yankees ever, made his debut with the team 20 years ago and quickly found himself trying to meet wild expectations. In his rookie season, Matsui slumped, hitting only three home runs through June 4. June 5 was a different story though, when he picked up his first four-hit game in the majors with three doubles and a homer. A few weeks later, he cemented himself as a force in the middle of the Yankees lineup with a volcanic showing while playing in both ends of a historic day-night Subway Series doubleheader split between Yankee and Shea Stadiums. Matsui’s memorable day against the Mets in 2003 helped establish the then-MLB-rookie as a Yankees fan favorite.
“The first one was mental,’’ Matsui said of the advice Joe Torre gave him to keep him in the lineup. “He told me, ‘I know you’re not hitting right now, but I’m not taking you out of the lineup.’”
Between the two games, Matsui recalls the trip from The Bronx to Queens as something he never had experienced at home, where he played for the Yomiuri Giants. “I knew it was going to be a long day and a very rare experience,’’ Matsui said. “To play in two different stadiums in New York City, I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted to enjoy the day.”
Matsui’s career in pinstripes really took off that month, culminating in his heroics in the Subway Series. In the 23 games starting on June 5, Matsui went 39-for-85 (.459) with six homers, 28 RBIs and an OPS of 1.326. He finished his six-year tenure with the Yankees with 140 home runs and a .933 OPS in 235 playoff plate appearances.
Who is Hideki Matsui?
Hideki Matsui is a former professional baseball outfielder and designated hitter who spent ten seasons playing in the United States, with the majority of his career spent playing for the New York Yankees.
When did Matsui make his Yankees debut?
Matsui made his debut with the Yankees 20 years ago.
What is Matsui famous for?
Matsui is famous for his clutch hitting over six postseasons which vaulted him to a place among the greats in the Yankees organization.
What advice did Joe Torre give Matsui?
Joe Torre gave Matsui two pieces of advice which proved invaluable for him. The first was mental, telling him that he would not be taken out of the lineup, and the second was technical, encouraging him to stand a little closer to home plate.
When did Matsui cement himself as a force in the Yankees lineup?
Matsui cemented himself as a force in the middle of the Yankees lineup with a volcanic showing while playing in both ends of a historic day-night Subway Series doubleheader split between Yankee and Shea Stadiums in 2003.
Hideki Matsui’s Performance During the 2003 Doubleheader at Yankee Stadium and Shea
It’s been two decades since Hideki Matsui made his debut for the New York Yankees. But before his consistent playoff performances earned him a spot among the greats in the organization, he was just a rookie struggling to meet expectations. In his first season after coming over from Japan, Matsui had played 58 games by June 4 and hit only three home runs, with a .250 average and an OPS of .656. That changed on June 5 in Cincinnati, when he picked up his first four-hit game in the majors, including three doubles and a homer.
A few weeks later, Matsui cemented himself as an important member of the Yankees’ lineup with an impressive showing during a historic day-night doubleheader split between Yankee and Shea Stadiums, the first such twinbill since 2000. Against the Mets in the nightcap, Matsui went 4-for-4 with a walk and an RBI, contributing to the Yankees’ 9-8 win.
Matsui remembers the day of the doubleheader fondly. “I watched the 2000 Subway World Series in Japan and that was really memorable to me, so to experience something like that myself a few years later was very exciting.” The day began at Yankee Stadium, where Matsui hit a grand slam for five RBIs, securing a 7-1 Yankees victory behind Roger Clemens. Following the game, the Yankees received a police escort to Shea Stadium and, between the two games, Matsui recalls the trip from The Bronx to Queens as something he never had experienced at home, where he played for the Yomiuri Giants.
In this magical season, Matsui went 39-for-85 with six homers, 28 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.326 in 23 games starting June 5. Matsui credits Joe Torre, the Yankees’ Hall of Fame manager, for helping him get going at the plate. Torre gave him two impactful pieces of advice. “The first one was mental,” Matsui said, recounting, “‘I know you’re not hitting right now, but I’m not taking you out of the lineup.'” The second was technical. “He talked about where I was in the batter’s box… He suggested standing a little closer to home plate. I did what he told me, and started to hit.”
Matsui went on to become a force for the Yankees for most of his six years in the Bronx, finishing with 140 homers and a .933 OPS in 235 playoff plate appearances.