July 28, 2011
Hideki Irabu found dead today
When I turned 17, my brother decided it would be cool to get me tickets to the New York Yankees as a gift. It was fantastic even though it was scheduled for the day before my birthday.
That game actually worked out to be Hideki Irabu's debut with the New York Yankees in 1997. It was a fantastic game. He struck out nine and gave up two runs against the Detroit Tigers to earn a 10-3 win.
But it never really got much better than that for Irabu (here's ESPN's story on his death today). He finished his MLB career 34-35 and will unfortunately be remembered more for George Steinbrenner calling him a Fat Toad more than anything else.
I wonder about Irabu's baseball cards now. There were 172 listings as I wrote this blog, and 27 of them were put up just today.
Was he as big as Dice-K when he first came up? I honestly don't remember. When Irabu signed with the Yankees, it was one of the lulls of collecting I had gone through.
Irabu had a slew of Japanese cards starting in 1991. His Major League Baseball card wasn't until 1997.
His Rookie Cards are worth mere pennies these days. He didn't pan out the way the New York Yankees are baseball pundits expected.