Hideki Matsui Returns to Tokyo Dome, Wearing Old Uniform No. 55
1:00 JST, May 5, 2023
Godzilla was back in a Yomiuri Giants uniform, and naturally it was No. 55.
Hideki Matsui returned to Tokyo Dome on Wednesday, but not to blast balls over the fence. The former Yomiuri and major league slugger threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Giants’ game against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Donning a Giants jersey with No. 55, the number he wore with the Central League club before moving across the Pacific, Matsui threw a strike before the appreciative holiday crowd of 40,716.
“I’m glad I could throw a good pitch,” the 48-year-old Matsui said. “I always like hearing the cheers of the crowd.”
Prior to the pitch, a video of Matsui’s first career home run as a pro was shown on the large screen. He had hit it 30 years earlier, almost to the day. It came on May 2, 1993, off the Swallows’ Shingo Takatsu — currently the Yakult manager.
“That was my first step as a pro,” Matsui said. “The Giants will always be my home.”
Nicknamed Godzilla for his prodigious power, Matsui joined Yomiuri out of high school and hit 332 home runs over 10 seasons. He moved to the New York Yankees in 2003 and played for three other teams in his final three seasons before retiring in 2012.
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