Born: September 13, 1980
Birthplace: Higashi Tsugaru-gu, Aomori, Japan
Best Known as: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher
Already one of Japan’s most famous athletes, Daisuke Matsuzaka is very familiar with the intense media coverage reserved for such celebrities; however, he may have been unprepared for the media circus that followed his every move during the bidding war between four different Major League Baseball clubs for his services in late 2006. In November, the Boston Red Sox agreed to pay his Japanese Club, Seibu Lions, a posting fee of $52 million simply to negotiate with the star pitcher. In December, Matsuzaka and the Red Sox agreed on a contract that would pay him an additional $52 million over six years, increasing the Rod Sox total cost to $104 million. Matsuzaka starred in Japan’s Nippon Professional League from 1999 through 2006, all of them with the Siebu Lions. He amassed a total of 108 wins and 60 losses with a lifetime ERA of 2.95. He is known on the international stage for his performance in both the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he helped Japan to a Bronze Medal, and at the 2006 World Baseball Classic, where he was the winning pitcher of the championship game and was named tournament MVP. He pitched in his first game for the Boston Red Sox on April 5th, 2007 against the Kansas City Royals, allowing one run in seven innings and recorded the win in the 4-1 Red Sox victory. He is known around the Major Leagues simply as “Dice-K.”
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