#Shortstops: Matsui makes history at Yankee Stadium

Part of the SHORT STOPS series
Written by: Bruno Rosa

Ten days before Yankee Stadium turned 80 years old, Hideki Matsui would do something that had never been done in Yankee Stadium. Something that legends such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio were unable to do.

On April 8, 2003, the New York Yankees were playing their first home game of the season against the Minnesota Twins. It was the bottom of the fifth inning; there was one out and the bases were loaded. Matsui, who had signed with the Yankees on Dec. 19, 2002 and was making his first game appearance in Yankee Stadium, came to the plate for his second at-bat of the game.

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With a count of three balls and two strikes, Matsui crushed the ball into right field and became the first Yankee player to record a grand slam home run in their first game at Yankee Stadium. The bat was then donated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Matsui would go on to bat .287 with 106 RBI and finish second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Almost 80 years prior, on April 18, 1923, Ruth had accomplished a very similar feat. The Yankees were playing their first ever game at Yankee Stadium against the Boston Red Sox. It was the bottom of the third inning, two outs and two men on base.

Up to bat for his second time at Yankee Stadium was Ruth.

The count ran to two balls and two strikes before Ruth hit a Howard Ehmke offering into right field for a three-run homer, becoming the first Yankee player to record a home run in his first game at Yankee Stadium.

Matsui played in the big leagues through the 2012 season and is a coach for the MLB Team at the Nov. 8-15, 2018, Japan All-Star Series.

Bruno Rosa was the 2018 multimedia intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development

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Part of the SHORT STOPS series