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.
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