Friday, June 12, 2015

On Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui's 41st birthday, A Moment To Reflect On ARod's DH Season

By Barry Millman

It's Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui's 41st birthday today, and it's one all Yankee fans should note well.

Originally an outfielder when he came to the Yankees, his distinguished seven-year career in pinstripes concluded in glorious fashion in 2009 when he transitioned to full-time designated hitter and had one of the most productive seasons of his career, rapping 28 dingers and driving in 90 runs. It ended with a world championship ring on his finger and World Series MVP trophy in his arms.

On this date that year, he was batting .260 with a .834 OPS and had collected 9 home runs and 25 RBI.  

Today, one month shy of his 40th birthday, Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees' first full-time designated hitter since Matsui, is hitting .270 with a .878 OPS and has hit 11 homers and driven in 29 runs.

I can think of no greater tribute to Godzilla's Yankee legacy on his special day than pausing to appreciate the year Alex is having fulfilling the same crucial role for this year's team Upper Deki did for that one. Alex is doing credit both to his old friend and teammate and to the path Godzilla blazed for Alex to follow.

[Note: I would be remiss, of course, if I didn't provide a link here to my spring training story predicting Alex would match Godzilla's 2009 season as a full-time DH if given the chance.]

You can email Barry Millman at and follow him on Twitter @nyyankeefanfore.