» January 12, 1997: The San Diego Padres acquire the rights to 27-year-old Japanese fireballer Hideki Irabu from the Chiba Lotte Marines. Irabu says he only wants to play for the Yankees.
» March 3, 1997: For the negotiating rights to Hideki Irabu the Yankees offer the Padres a choice of one from a list of players: Brian Boehringer, David Weathers, Chris Cumberland, Andy Fox, and Matt Luke. Also, one player from a list of five minor leaguers, plus $3 million. The Padres are talking to several other teams beside the Yankees.
» April 22, 1997: After four months of on-and-off negotiations, the Yankees acquire the rights to Japanese P Hideki Irabu from the San Diego Padres for $3 million. New York sends injured OF Ruben Rivera and minor leaguer P Rafael Medina to San Diego. The Padres sweeten the deal by sending three minor leaguers to NY: 2B Homer Bush and outfielders Gordon Amerson and Vernon Maxwell. Irabu's team, the Chiba Lotte Marines, gave the San Diego exclusive rights to the 27-year-old righthander, but Irabu refused to sign with the Padres, saying he would only go with the Yankees.
» May 29, 1997: The Yankees finally agree to terms with Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu, signing the fireballer to a 4-year contract worth $12.8 million. The deal includes a signing bonus of $8.5 million.
» July 10, 1997: Hideki Irabu strikes out nine batters and gets the win in his major league debut as the Yankees defeat the Tigers, 10-3.
» July 15, 1997: Despite a sluggish performance, Hideki Irabu wins his second major league start, leading the Yankees over Cleveland, 12-6. Irabu gives up five runs and nine hits in five innings, allowing homers to Tony Fernandez, Marquis Grissom, and Matt Williams. Cecil Fielder, the Yank's 270-pound DH, tries to score from first on a double and his head first slide results in a broken right thumb. Fielder will miss eight weeks.
» April 1, 1999: No joke. Enraged that P Hideki Irabu fails to cover 1B on a ground ball hit during an exhibition game, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner calls him a "fat pussy toad." Steinbrenner will later apologize to Irabu.
» December 22, 1999:
The Expos obtain inconsistent P Hideki Irabu from the Yankees in exchange for P Jake Westbrook and two players to be named. P Christian Parker will be one of those named.