Hideki Matsui, the Japanese slugger who became a star in both his native country and the United States, announced his retirement Thursday, according to MLB.com. The news was first reported by Japanese media, but Matsui has confirmed it at a news conference in New York.
The 38-year-old Matsui played professional baseball for two decades, first in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants, earning the MVP award on nine occasions. He then made the move to America, signing with the Yankees. Matsui hit 332 homers in Japan and 175 in the majors, playing for the Bronx Bombers, Angels, Athletics and a brief stint with the Rays last season.
He excelled with the Yankees, appearing in two All-Star teams and earning honors as 2009 World Series MVP by going 8 of 13 with three home runs and eight RBIs against the Phillies.
Matsui owns the highest home run, RBI (760) and walk (547) totals for any Japanese player in major league history.
Yankees Managing General Partner/Co-Chairperson Hal Steinbrenner released a statement honoring Matsui:
"Hideki Matsui, in many ways, embodied what this organization stands for. He was dedicated to his craft, embraced his responsibilities to his team and fans, and elevated his play when he was needed the most. He did all these things with a humility that was distinctly his own, which is why he was such a big part of our success and why he will always be a cherished member of the Yankees family."