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Description2011 Hideki Matsui 500th Home Run Baseball. He earned the nickname "Godzilla" in his native Japan, targeting fast balls with destructive powers reminiscent of his reptilian counterpart. In ten seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, Matsui clubbed 332 home runs, ably representing the number 55 he wore on his jersey to signify the single-season home run record held by legendary countryman Sadaharu Oh. The most famous slugger in Japan when his contract was purchased by the New York Yankees in 2003, the lefty long ball artist would serve up what is arguably the most significant Bronx bomb of the new millennium, a 2009 World Series Game Six blast that would prove to be the Championship winner.
Heritage was fortunate to be chosen by the lucky fan on the other end of that Series clout to present the home run ball at auction, with the $23,900 generated by its sale in April 2010 directed to charitable efforts in the wake of the devastating Haiti earthquake. Here we present a baseball which is arguably the most significant ever launched from the lumber of this iconic Japanese superstar, the 168th of his Major League Baseball career which carried his grand trans-Pacific total to an even 500.
The fellow on the receiving end of this Matsui drive was fifteen year old Michael Schultes who caught the ball after it bounced off the right field foul pole to his seat deep down the first base line. His notarized letter detailing the events is included. Whereas Christian Lopez, the Yankees fan who caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit a week earlier, was given tens of thousands of dollars in tickets and memorabilia for that ball's return, Michael was offered a signed Matsui ball in trade. Film footage from the day will show A's first base coach Tye Waller attempting to orchestrate the deal with blue-shirted Michael and his father. After refusing the deal, Michael was escorted to the concession area of Comerica Park and interviewed by four Japanese reporters through an interpreter. By the time he returned to his seat, the chaos had subsided. The father and son finished watching the game and walked back to their car unhindered.
Ironclad documentation comes via three photographs from the day. A pair capture the negotiations between Michael, his father and Waller--one shot from the field side by a news photographer, the other from a few rows behind in the stands. A third photo finds Michael flashing a big smile as he holds the ball in his right hand and his ticket (Section 113, Row 12, Seat 16) from the July 20, 2011 game at Comerica in his left. A brief article in the San Francisco Gate identifies Michael by name as the ball's owner, and closes with the sentence, "Waller said he was prepared to offer two signed Matsui balls but realized the fans weren't giving up the prize."
Heritage is pleased at yet another chance to present an enormously significant Hideki Matsui home run baseball to our valued international clientele. We expect the bidding interest will validate the Schultes' decision to pass on the offered deal. While Matsui became the first slugger to reach 500 homers in a career divided between two continents, that factor does not diminish the watershed accomplishment nor the enormous collecting appeal of this definitive relic. Photographic documentation. Notarized letter of provenance from consignor.
Service and Handling Description: Balls, Pucks, etc. - Encased, Small (view shipping information)
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