Photo: Christopher Tejeda (@FotoGenocide_ on Twitter)
Tuesday, Major League Baseball became aware that Ichiro Suzuki, 44, would be transferred from a player to a special assistant role with the Seattle Mariners.
Suzuki came over to the Mariners from Japan in 2001 and immediately made his presence known to the American fans. The 27-year old went on to lead the league in hits, stolen bases, and batting average in his first season. He became the first rookie to win the Most Valuable Player award and Rookie of the Year award. To add to his first-year success he was an All-Star, Gold Glove winner, and a Silver Slugger.
This was all on the way to help the Mariners match the 1906 Cubs win record; Mariners were 116-56 that season.
Ichiro went on to become the only player with 200+ for 10 straight seasons.
In 2012, he was traded to the New York Yankees to try and win a World Series ring and stayed with the team until 2014 season, failing to do so.
As a free agent in 2015, Ichiro stayed east and signed a 1-year deal to play for the Miami Marlins. He signed again in 2016 in hopes of getting his 3,000 major league baseball hit.
On August 7th, 2016, in a game against the Colorado Rockies, Suzuki teed off on a Chris Rusin pitch that hits off the rightfield wall. Even at his age, he wheeled his way into third for a standup triple.
This past offseason, Ichiro reunited with Seattle Mariners. May 3rd, it was announced he will step into a new role. Despite this, Ichiro’s agent, John Boggs expressed optimism for the future.
Ichiro finishes his career 1,420 runs, 3,089 hits, 117 home runs, 780 RBI, 509 stolen bases, and a .311 batting average. He also has was an MVP, Rookie of the Year, 10x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove winner, 3x Silver Slugger, 2x Batting Champ, and an All-Star MVP.
See you soon in Cooperstown, Mr. Suzuki.
On September 18, 2009, Ichiro Suzuki stepped up to the plate with a runner, 2 outs and the New York Yankees leading 2-1. To win, Suzuki had to get best arguably one of the greatest closers in all of baseball: Mariano Rivera.
And he did.
Ichiro finished his career batting .400 with 2 extra-base hits, 2 runs batted in, and one walk in fifteen at-bats against Rivera during his career.
So long Old friend
Although not the first Japanese-born player to play in the major, he sure has helped change the way American view Japenese-born talent. Whether he stays in this role or steps back into play next season, the mystical Ichiro Suzuki will not be forgotten.