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Former Yankee slugger Hideki Matsui honored during 150th anniversary of baseball in Japan

The former outfielder accepted the Japan Society Award from former Yankees manager and Hall of Famer Joe Torre.

NBC News -- Jun 24
Former Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui was honored in New York City for his contributions to baseball and helping build cultural connections between the U.S. and Japan through the game.

Matsui accepted the Japan Society Award from former Yankees manager and Hall of Famer Joe Torre on Tuesday night. The honor given to the two-time All Star coincides with the 150th anniversary of baseball’s introduction to Japan from the U.S.

Torre, Matsui’s manager during the player’s first five years in Major League Baseball, said. “During a time when too often, we have to talk about our differences, I have even more appreciation for those who pull us toward one another instead of away from each other. Hideki Matsui is one of those special people who embodies baseball as a bridge between our cultures.”

The slugger, also a Japanese Baseball Hall of Famer, received the award at an event featuring more than 700 attendees, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the secretary of state of New York, Robert J. Rodriguez.

Matsui, who largely spoke through a translator during his 10-year career in the MLB, delivered an acceptance speech in English from memory, recounting his decision to play with the Yankees after a successful career with the Yomiuri Giants. Matsui paid tribute to both Torre and his former manager with the Giants, Shigeo Nagashima, who was an avid fan of fellow legendary Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio.

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