Irabu could be a likable young man when he was in a good mood. Cap pushed back, chewing bubble gum, and talking about his forkball, he seemed quite personable. He could also be very generous—to cite one example, he paid off most of his translator George Rose’s graduate-school loans with part of his first World Series bonus.
But Irabu was often morose and given to long fits of depression. Despite efforts by Derek Jeter, David Cone, and David Wells to help him integrate into the team, he spent much of his time alone, sitting by himself in the Yankee stadium bullpen out in right center field. On the road, he would shut himself in his hotel room poring over anatomy books, trying to understand physiology. (He liked to draw pictures of the human body and became quite skilled at it.) Still, acquaintances described Irabu as being lonely for company—if he hooked up with you for dinner one night, then he’d call you up the next and the night after to go out. It seemed that when he drank, he liked to do so in the company of others, not home alone as others might.
[Picture via The Name’s Duke, MaDuke]