45-year-old baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki announced his retirement on Thursday after playing an exhibition game against the Oakland A’s in his home country of Japan.
After the game, the outfielder said of his career “[I] achieved so many of my dreams in baseball, both in my career in Japan and, since 2001, in Major League Baseball.” He added, “[I'm] honored to end my big league career where it started, with Seattle, and think it is fitting that my last games as a professional were played in my home country of Japan.”
Ichiro played 28 seasons of professional baseball, starting with the Orix Blue Wave of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in Japan, then moving overseas at 27 to play for the Seattle Mariners. During his 19 years in the MLB, the outfielder set a number of batting records, including the single-season record for hits with 262 and 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons. Ichiro finished his career in America with 3,089 hits, 10 All-Star appearances, 10 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers, 2 batting titles, 1 Rookie of the Year, and an MVP award. What’s more, between his time in Japan and America, Ichiro tallied 4,367 hits, putting him above the MLB’s hit leader Pete Rose and his 4,256 hits.
The surefire Hall of Famer will go down as one of the greatest hitters of all-time and certainly the best Japan-born player in recent memory. And while his impact on the HYPEBEAST realm may not be obvious–he had no crossover sneaker or even an on-field swag like his former teammate Ken Griffey Jr.–he was insurmountable in bridging Japanese culture with that of America’s. You’ll be missed, Ichiro.
In related news, Mike Trout just signed the largest sports contract ever for $430M USD.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) March 21, 2019
One final goodbye for a legend.
Ichiro tips his cap to the Tokyo crowd as he leaves his last MLB game. pic.twitter.com/2FgBfpmIV2
— ESPN (@espn) March 21, 2019