DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Hideki Matsui #55 of the Oakland Athletics hit a home run in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers during an MLB game at Comerica Park on July 20, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Matsui became the first player to hit 500 home runs combined playing in both Japan and MLB. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
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almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Okay, 332 of those 500 homers came in Japan, so no one is planning a bust of Matsui in Cooperstown. Many U.S. baseball fans probably wouldn't even think of Matsui as a prototypical slugger - it's taken him eight-and-a-half years to pile up 168 homers in the states. Still, though, 500 career jacks is an accomplishment.
Matsui came to U.S. baseball in 2003 and joined the Yankees as a 29-year-old. Despite some battles with injuries, he had been a high-quality hitter until 2011 (which has been by far the worst season of his major-league career). But that was mostly due to a broad base of offensive skills rather than outstanding home-run power. His MLB career high in homers is 31, which he tallied in 2004.
Matsui hit 34 or more homers in his last seven seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, including 50 in 2002, his last season in Japan.
Matsui's homer on Wednesday, a solo shot in the sixth, gave the A's a 3-2 lead.
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