The Night Hideki Matsui Became a Yankee Legend

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The Night Hideki Matsui Became a Yankee Legend
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Every guy that has ever played baseball on any level has dreamed about it. Playing in the World Series in Yankee Stadium with the Championship on the line and delivering one of the greatest performances in baseball history to clinch the Commissioner's trophy.

In game 6 of the 2009 World Series, New York Yankee Hideki Matsui lived that dream and took a distinguished place in the proud and immortal legacy of Yankee lore.  New York's most famous and prestigious sports tradition boasts some of the most unforgettable icons and moments in the history of major league baseball:  Babe Ruth's called shot in 1932, Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 Series, Reggie Jackson's 3 Home-run spectacular in game 5 in the 1977 series. The list is long and so a part of baseball's collective soul that they will forever live in the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

The Yankees have, possibly, the richest and most treasured history of any sports team in America. The special players that have worn the pin-stripes have become not only icons of the sporting world but icons of American pop culture as well. For many the terms "New York Yankees", "World Champions" and "Excellence" are synonymous. That is why it takes a very rare and special feat to be worthy of inclusion among such illustrious figures and achievements.

In Game 6 of the 2009 World Series, playing in possibly his last game, Hideki Matsui transformed himself into a legend with a record-tying performance that single handily lifted the Yankee's to their 27th world title in club history.  Going 3-4 with a 2-run HR, 2-run Double and 2-run Single, Matsui tied a single game WS record for RBIs (6) set by Bobby Richardson in 1960. Matsui's performance scored 6 of the Yankee's 7 total runs and guaranteed the Yankee's return to the highest summit of major league baseball. Game six was the zenith of a masterful World Series for Matsui which saw him bat an incrediable .615 (8-13), 3HR, 8 RBI.  To put that in perspective, Matsui hit more RBIs in the 2009 World Series than Babe Ruth hit in any one of his 10 World Series appearances. Matsui hit more HRs (3) in this series than Joe Dimaggio hit in any of his 10 appearances in the fall classic. In addition, Matsui set a record for the highest batting avg for a 6 game set in a World Series matchup at .615.

From now and for always, for as long as is baseball being played in the New York, Yankee fans will talk in reverent tones about Matsui's magical game 6 the same way they speak of Reggie Jackson's game 6. Matsui has become Mr. November to Jackson's Mr. October.  The Yankees will almost certainly retire Matsui's number 55 for inclusion among the other great Yankees from victories past.  Old time fans of Yankees baseball will hang pictures of Matsui alongside New York heroes like Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle, and Wade Boggs.

To be counted among the Yankee greats is to be included among the greatest and best of all-time. On November 4, 2009 in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series, Hideki Matsui more than earned his place and we were lucky enough to see it.

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