That other Hideki

Two steps forward, one step back
Yanks won't talk contract with Cash 'til November

Remember the other Hideki to don pinstripes? Hideki Irabu, George Steinbrenner‘s favorite whipping boy, had quite the Yankee debut on July 10, 1997, but it was all downhill from there. The pitcher touted as the Japanese Nolan Ryan never lived up to his hype (cough, cough Kei Igawa), and Irabu bounced around the Majors before ending his career back Japan. Earlier this week, Billy Witz checked in with Irabu, in a way. He’s still living in the states and running some SoCal restaurants.

Two steps forward, one step back
Yanks won't talk contract with Cash 'til November
  • chris

    Many forget that Irabu had about 1/3 of a season – sorry i dont recall which one, i think 1999 or maybe 2000 where he carried the team though about 15 starts.

    my point is that while he in no way lived up to the hype (of course the only japanese pitcher to do so is Dice-K – damn redsox), he did have stretches of dominance, granted they never lasted more than a month at a time. he is no igawa, irabu genuinly had good stuff, but i think he was jined from the beginning because of all the hype surrounding him. he couldnt handly NY or for that matterpressure.

    think back though – he did have some very good stretches, but couldnt sustain anything. personnally i think he was a contributer to the dynasty – granted a very minor one, but he was not as bad as he is painted to be

  • King Tom

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembers Irabu as something other than the fat p—- toad (although, he did earn that reputation).

    It was in ’98 when the team was struggling early thanks to the injuries to Rivera, Davis and a few others that Irabu carried the team- he didn’t lose a game till late May and his ERA was below 3 until sometime in July. He had some good starts in there, it’s just a shame he couldn’t pitch like that the rest of his time in the states.

    I’m sure some of it was the hype, but I think a lot of it came from his attitude- from what I remember, he hated dealing with the press and was very closed off from the rest of the team (kind of the anti-Matsui). He also had a translator/manservant his first season or two who he treated like garbage, which I don’t think helped him get any closer to the team either.

  • RollingWave

    Do they serve fried toads there? :P


  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    Don’t mention Igawa and Irabu in the same blog, Irabu contributed something, Igawa has been an utter bust from the day he arrived.

  • Jamal G.

    That six inning, two hit relief outing of Jeff Karstens versus the Red Sox will never escape my memory!

  • eli

    Remember when pitching mistakes only cost a “four-year, $12.8 million contract”!