On Sunday afternoon in the Bronx, New York Yankees’ legends filled the first and third base dugouts as the annual Old Timers’ Day celebration got underway.
Faces of the past from Don Larson and Whitey Ford to Bernie Williams and Hideki Matsui stepped onto the Yankee Stadium field to standing ovations.
Matsui, who turned 42 on Sunday, hit a second-deck home run off of Yankees’ legend David Cone in the annual old timers’ game between the Clippers and the Bombers. Most people in attendance think Matsui could still play, but the Japanese superstar thinks a little different.
“I’d probably last not even one game,” Matsui said through his interpreter, Roger Kahlon. “I’d go on the D.L. as well.”
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Matsui’s home run looked like the one he hit in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series, a game in which he had six RBIs and was named the World Series MVP after. On that night in October, the Yankees beat Pedro Martinez and the Philadelphia Phillies winning their 27th championship.
Matsui was not the only player to make a flashback highlight. Early in the fun-filled game, former third baseman Charlie Hayes drifted into foul territory and made a catch near the stands, almost a mirror image of Game 6 in 1996.
Yankees outfielder and YES Network analyst Paul O’Neill made a full-extension grab going back on a ball hit by Rickey Henderson, just like he did in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series robing Luis Polonia in an epic pitchers’ duel between Andy Pettitte and John Smoltz.
The stars shined bright in the Bronx, at least pregame. The Yankees would be defeated by the Detroit Tigers 4-1, but for Yankees fans young and old, the day was special.
Prior to the game, reports loomed that the Yankees agreed to a major league contract with first baseman Ike Davis. Davis, 29, was released by the Rangers on Sunday and would provide the Yankees with depth over at first base.
Davis was hitting .268 with four home runs and 25 RBIs with Round Rock, the Rangers’ Triple-A team.
Although not yet confirmed, it would appear that Davis is on his way to New York.
“Cash (general manager Brian Cashman) is working on some things,” Joe Girardi said. “I can’t confirm anything yet. Obviously, we want to add a position player as we move forward here just because we’re going into a National League city (Colorado). But I know he’s working on things.”