This Day in Yankees History: Hideki Matsui's Grand Debut at Yankee Stadium

Max Goodman

It didn't take long for Hideki Matsui to win over the crowd at Yankee Stadium.

After an incredible career in Japan, Matsui agreed to terms with New York ahead of the 2003 season. Six road games to start the season kept Matsui away from the Bronx until he made his debut in pinstripes on April 8.

Matsui had already checked off several big-league firsts. He registered his first Major League base hit and RBI in his first at-bat of the season with a single of Toronto's ace – and future Hall of Famer – Roy Halladay. Two days later, he had his first multi-hit game. 

Coming off a season with 50 home runs with the Yomiuri Giants, however, it was only a matter of time until the slugger mashed his first MLB long ball. 

Against the visiting Minnesota Twins, a groundout and walk in his first two plate appearances built the anticipation. Matsui stepped up to the plate in the fifth inning for his third at-bat with the bases loaded and he delivered.

The sweet-swinging lefty pounced on a 3-2 pitch on the inner third, depositing it deep into the right-field bleachers. 

Not only was it his first big-league home run, and his first grand slam, but Matsui earned his first curtain call as well. The Yankees faithful didn't stop cheering until No. 55 re-emerged from the first-base dugout to tip his cap. 

Mastui went on to spend seven seasons with the Bombers, crushing another 139 home runs in a Yankees uniform. He began his career at Yankee Stadium with a bang and Matsui ended it in emphatic fashion. The Japanese superstar won the Most Valuable Player Award for his performance in the 2009 World Series, hitting .615 with eight RBI in six games played.

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