Friday, July 29, 2011

Rest In Peace Irabu

It is being reported that former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead yesterday in what is being investigated as a possible suicide. Situations like these are always tragic, and make me pause for a moment and count my blessings. Irabu was a starter for the Yankees from 1997 - 1999, and won two championships with the team in that time. He later played for the Expos and the Rangers, and then went back to Japan to continue playing there. Our prayers will be with the family.


Rich Mahogany said...

It's thoughtful of you to post this.

Irabu was part of arguably the greatest Yankee team ever, if not the greatest team ever. He wasn't just along for the ride - he was a solid contributor in the rotation. And he wasn't that bad in 1999 either.

When things turned sour with the Yankees, they flipped Irabu to the Expos for Jake Westbrook and Ted Lilly. The Yankees then traded Westbrook for David Justice.

A lot of Yankee fans seem to have a very negative image of Irabu. I never really understood that. Yes, he was heavily hyped upon arrival and didn't live up to that hype. But he wasn't a bust by any means and he helped us get Justice, who's generally considered one of the best Yankee pickups up the last several years.

This is a sad reminder that even being a multi-millionaire, World Series champion doesn't necessarily make you happy.

Fernando Alejandro said...

You make a good point, and I think a lot of the negative feelings has to do with the hype. He was billed as the Japanese Nolan Ryan, and when you attach anyones name to Nolan Ryan, you're setting an almost impossible standard. Ryan is the career leader in strikeouts and no hitters, and pitched well into his 40's. Hideki Irabu wasn't that.

I was thinking of writing something similar to what you said about how being a multi-millionaire and a world series champion doesn't necessarily bring you joy or even fulfill you, but decided against it because I thought it would seem out of place as a post. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought it! Its amazing how any of us would kill just to live the big league life for a year, yet here's someone who not only lived it, but got 2 championship rings, something that even major league players would kill for, and still concluded that his life wasn't worth it. Who knows what demons he faced, but its a humbling reminder to not put too much stock in certain things.