A beautiful “New Releases” rookie card featuring Hideki Matsui, a.k.a. Godzilla, in his brand-new New York Yankee pinstripes.
In 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, Matsui was Japan’s biggest star. He was NPB’s most feared power hitter from the get-go, swatting 11 home runs in just 57 games as a 19-year-old rookie and then tallying 311 more over the next nine seasons. He was 8x “Best Nine,” 9x an All-Star, a 3x MVP, and led the Giants to Japan Series championships in 1994, 2000, and 2002, winning the Series MVP in 2000. His NPB achievements were immortalized with his induction in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
After moving to MLB from the Giants in 2003, he more than earned his pinstripes. He was twice an All-Star, twice earned MVP votes, and was the MVP of the 2009 World Series, leading the Yankees to a title over the Philadelphia Phillies. He contributed as a dependable veteran for the Angels, A’s, and Rays before retiring in 2013. His ten years in MLB showed Americans that Japanese players can be power hitters too, and he will go down in history as a beloved hero in two countries. We ranked him as the third-best Japanese import in MLB history.