Thanks to my (Evander) good friend Phil (d/b/a Dr. Pizza, Pizza Prima, highly recommended, I’m not just saying that) for sharing a ticket to Hideki Irabu’s first game against the Detroit Tigers in 1997, I got to see the phenom from Japan in an excellent field-level box seat on the first-base side of Yankee Stadium. The old Stadium. (Well, it had been reworked in the mid-1970s as The House That Frank Tepedino Built as another friend joked.) Hideki was amazing that night. The full story of his star-crossed career is well known, and has ended in tragedy worthy of a Japanese No play or a Puccini opera. I had “no” idea that Irabu was such a tortured soul, and I am sorry. Rest in Peace, Hideki. You brought joy to North American baseball fans.
Sad news. Makes you wonder if this man was depressed. The American Mental Health Foundation has a recent entry on “antidepressants” (http://americanmentalhealthfoundation.org/entry.php?id=268) as well as a link to programs of the Suicide Prevention Institute (http://americanmentalhealthfoundation.org/amhf.php?id=20). I suspect baseball needs more awareness of these topics.