Growing up, watching Ichiro take his cuts from the left-handed batter’s box was awe-inspiring. Over a decade later, it’s still just as impressive.
After racking up almost 1,300 hits in Japan, Suzuki came to America, signing with the Seattle Mariners and embarking on what would become a legendary career that somehow continues to be overshadowed.
In his first season, he set the tone well, winning both the American League Rookie of the Year and MVP Award, as well as a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for his position. With 242 hits, a .350 average and 56 stolen bases, he led the Mariners to a 116-46 record – one of the best marks ever to be recorded by a big league club.
In a dozen years in Seattle, Suzuki racked up over 2,500 hits, 1,100 runs and 430 stolen bases. Then, after joining the New York Yankees in a midseason trade in 2012, he’s added another 200-plus hits, including the historic 4,000th hit of his professional baseball career.
Ten All-Star appearances, ten Gold Glove awards, three Silver Sluggers and an American League MVP award later – Suzuki nears the end of his playing days. It’s time to appreciate the contributions he’s made to the game here in the United States, and across the globe.
Thank you, Ichiro.