Kyle Higashioka leaves Yankees with heartfelt message for fans

Yankees traded catcher Kyle Higashioka to San Diego in December, 2023.

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Catcher Kyle Higashioka, who was part of the blockbuster deal sending slugger Juan Soto to the Yankees and himself traded to the San Diego Padres, said his goodbyes on Sunday night.

The backstop expressed his gratitude towards the fans, teammates, organization, and the Steinbrenner family for the countless incredible moments shared during his 16 seasons with the Yankees organization, as Higashioka reflected on his time in pinstripes.

Higashioka’s emotional farewell

Higashioka reminisced about various milestones in his baseball journey, from being drafted to experiencing a spring training clubhouse alongside Hall of Fame players at just 19 years old. He recounted the momentous occasion of making his major league debut after spending a decade in the minor leagues, jokingly mentioning the time it took to secure his first hit. Higashioka also recalled significant achievements such as hitting three home runs in a game and catching both a no-hitter and a perfect game.

“As I reflect on my 16 seasons with the Yankees organization, I have nothing but gratitude to express to the fans, my teammates, the organization, and the Steinbrenner family, for the many incredible moments, we have all shared during my time in pinstripes,” his message reads.

Higashioka expressed gratitude for the numerous memories and relationships forged with the organization, citing moments like witnessing Aaron Judge hit 62 home runs and Gerrit Cole winning the Cy Young Award. He extended thanks to his teammates, likening them to brothers who consistently motivated him to achieve his best. Additionally, Higashioka conveyed appreciation to the organization, acknowledging the Steinbrenner family for providing the opportunities that enabled him to become a major league player. Lastly, the ex-Yankees catcher thanked the fans for their unwavering support and for making him feel at home and cherished in New York.

Higashioka expressed astonishment each time he encountered a 66 Jersey in public, acknowledging their rarity. He found it remarkable that individuals would invest their hard-earned money to show support for him. He emphasized the crucial role of fans in enabling athletes to make a living playing a game, expressing gratitude once more for their support.

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A new career awaits Higashioka

Higashioka conveyed immense excitement about embarking on a new phase in his career with the San Diego Padres. He expressed eagerness to acquaint himself with a fresh group of teammates and to contribute towards the collective goal of bringing a world championship to San Diego.

The Yankees obtained Soto and center fielder Trent Grisham by trading four pitchers—Michael King, Randy Vasquez, Jhony Brito, and Drew Thorpe—along with Higashioka. There is a possibility that Higashioka could now form a catching duo with former Yankees player Gary Sanchez if the Padres choose to re-sign him.

 

Yankees fans react to Higashioka’s message

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