NEW YORK — Just think what Hideki Matsui could have done if he had started all six games.
The Yankees slugger, limited to pinch-hitting duties during the three DH-less games in Philadelphia, was named most valuable player of the World Series.
Known as Godzilla, Matsui had a monster Game 6, driving in six of the seven Yankees runs with a two-run homer, a bases-loaded single and a two-run double and tying the Series single-game record set by the Yankees' Bobby Richardson in Game 3 in 1960.
For the Series, Matsui hit .615 with three homers and eight RBIs, the most by a Yankee in a Series since Reggie Jackson had eight in 1977 and 1978.
"The first and foremost goal when I joined the Yankees was to win a championship, and certainly it's been a long road and a difficult journey,'' Matsui said through an interpreter. "I was happy to be able to hit and contribute to the team win. Us as a team winning the championship, that is such a great feeling. I guess you can say this is the best moment of my life.''
Matsui's .615 average (8-for-13) was the third highest in Series history for any player with at least 10 at-bats, trailing Billy Hatcher's .750 (9-for-12) for the 1990 Reds and Babe Ruth's .625 (10-for-16) for the 1928 Yankees. His 1.385 slugging percentage was second highest behind Lou Gehrig's 1.727 in 1928 for the Yankees.
Matsui is the first player to win the MVP award while having the majority of his at-bats as a DH. Paul Molitor split time between DH and first base in 1993 for the Blue Jays.
Matsui, 35, is headed to free agency, and his Series showing is sure to increase the pressure on the Yankees to re-sign him, potentially having to choose between Matsui and Johnny Damon as they are expected to pursue a frontline leftfielder. Asked if he thought he'd be a Yankee next season, Matsui laughed and said, "I have no idea.''
Matsui became the first Japanese-born player to win the award. He also was MVP of the 2000 Japan Series for Yomiuri.
three IS ENOUGH: The Yankees did it their way, winning a Series championship with only three starting pitchers — CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte. They became the first team to win a Series with only three since the 1991 Twins, who started Jack Morris three times and Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson twice.
THE WHIFF: Phillies 1B Ryan Howard set a Series record with 13 strikeouts, breaking the record held by Willie Wilson of the 1980 Royals.
MISCELLANY: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, part of the Fox broadcast team, said his son Ozney is leaning toward attending USF: "He loves it there." … Damon left the game after scoring in the third inning, pulling a calf muscle on the way. He was replaced by Jerry Hairston. … The six Yankees hit by pitches tied the Series record, matching the 2001 D'backs (against the Yankees) and 1909 Pirates (vs. Detroit). … First-pitch temperature was 47 degrees.