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Hideki Matsui honored in Japan

05/06/2013 2:33 PM ET
By Matt Hughes

Hideki Matsui became a World Series champion, and earned series MVP honors, in his final season playing for the Yankees.(AP)
Hideki Matsui has received the People's Honor award in Japan.

The award -- one of Japan's highest honors -- is given to Japanese citizens who have excelled professionally and are beloved by the public at large. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe presented the award to Matsui at the Tokyo Dome on May 5 -- the date was chosen in honor of Matsui's longtime uniform number, 55. 

Matsui's manager with the Yomiuri Giants, Shigeo Nagashima, also received the award and was honored alongside his former player at the ceremony.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported on the the awards

Godzilla, as he is affectionately known to fans, had a standout ten-year career in Japan before signing with the the New York Yankees in 2003. Known for his power, Matsui did not disappoint, slugging 175 home runs during ten Major League seasons, a record for a Japanese player. But Matsui exceeded scout's expectations on defense and thrived as one of the Yankees' best overall players for seven seasons before closing out his career with the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A's and Tampa Bay Rays. Matsui was named the 2009 World Series Most Valuable Player in his final season with the Yankees.

Matsui, 38, retired from baseball in December. In April, it was announced that Matsui will sign a ceremonial one-day contract so he can officially retire with the Yankees.

Follow Matt Hughes on Twitter: @hughesmatt

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