Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Former New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui announced the end of a 10-year major-league career on Thursday.
The New York Post reported that the 38-year-old native of Japan called it quits at a press conference in Manhattan.
Matsui came to North America in 2003, following a successful 10-year stint with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League. He landed in the Bronx, and made a splash as the first player in club lore to hit a grand slam in his Yankee debut, coming on Apr. 8, 2003 against Minnesota.
"Hideki is proof that baseball is an international attraction that brings people from all over the world together in their passion for the game. He was the type of player and person you want young fans of this game to emulate," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. "He played with pride, discipline and of course talent, and flourished when the lights were at their brightest. People naturally gravitated towards him, and that's a direct reflection of his character. He was a true professional in every sense of the word and it feels good knowing he was able to raise the championship trophy as a member of the Yankees."
In seven seasons with New York, Matsui collected 140 home runs, 196 doubles and 597 RBI with a .292 average in 916 regular-season games, and won World Series MVP honors in 2009 after hitting a scorching .615 with three homers and eight RBI in a six-game triumph over defending-champion Philadelphia.
He etched his name in franchise postseason lore with a monster performance in the deciding Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, erupting for six RBI in a 7-3 victory -- tying the mark set by the Yankees' Bobby Richardson in an Oct. 8, 1960 Game 3 victory against Pittsburgh.
Matsui played for three different clubs over the last three seasons, spending 2010 with the Angels, 2011 with Oakland and last season with Tampa Bay. The left-handed slugger managed just two homers and seven runs batted in over 34 games for the Rays, with a career-low .147 average.
"I've said it numerous times over the years, but it's worth repeating now. I've had a lot of teammates over the years with the Yankees, but I will always consider Hideki one of my favorites. The way he went about his business day in and day out was impressive," remarked Yankees captain Derek Jeter. "I have a lot of respect for Hideki. He was someone we counted on a great deal and he's a big reason why we became World Champions in 2009."
All told, Matsui ended up with a .282 average, 175 homers and 760 RBI over 1,236 games. In 56 games over 11 postseason series, "Godzilla" struck for 10 long balls, 15 doubles, 39 RBI and hit a robust .312. He was a two-time All- Star selection who finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2003.