Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani


Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, July 13, 1997

Last Thursday, New York City watched as Hideki Irabu made his stunning debut at Yankee Stadium. Hideki is the first player from Japan to wear the pinstripes, and joining the Bronx Bombers was the fulfillment of a life-long dream. Hideki could have played for any city he wanted, but he chose to play in "the house that Ruth built"--and we are very glad that he did.

Following weeks of anticipation, Hideki Irabu did not disappoint New Yorkers. In six and two-thirds innings, he dominated the Detroit hitters, striking out 9 players and allowing only five hits and two runs. By any standard, he gave an incredible performance, and the Yankees beat the Tigers 10 to 3.

His arrival is an event of great significance for the relationship between American and International baseball, but it is of even greater significance as an example of the immigrant experience in New York City. Even though his drama played out on a much larger stage than other immigrants to our city, Hideki Irabu's choice to come to New York City echoes the same decision that people from all over the world make every day, the same choice that millions of people have made throughout New York City's history.

With the courage to build a life in America comes a genuine understanding of what American opportunity and responsibility represent. Millions of immigrants over the years have come here to New York City -- once through Ellis Island, now through Kennedy Airport -- to make better lives for their children. Their lives give our city the strength of diversity, a better understanding of itself, and a better appreciation for the core principles that make our nation great.

Mr. Irabu could have played anywhere in America. In fact, San Francisco was pursuing him, but Hideki, like the millions of others over the last century, wanted to live the American dream in the greatest American city. It is truly remarkable to imagine that a small boy growing up across the Pacific Ocean would dream about one day coming to New York City to play baseball.

But New York City has that kind of effect on people. In fact, according to a new Harris survey when people from all over the country are asked which city other than their own they would want to call home, New York City topped the list at number one. New York City has once again become one of the most popular places for domestic travelers to come and visit. The mystique of New York City is no different overseas. Our city is the number one international tourist destination. We are indeed the capital of the world.

New York is the most diverse city in the world. We have always embraced newcomers because of their talent, ambition and drive to succeed; and Hideki Irabu is no exception. Last week's game sold over 51,000 tickets, that's 20,000 more than usual for a Thursday night. The game was also televised in Japan, which will most likely add to our record-setting boom in the tourism industry as Hideki's hometown fans come to the Bronx to watch his 99 mile/hour fast ball. Their enthusiasm will be welcome, and they will be rooting alongside 8 million New Yorkers.

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