A sad day as Ichiro Suzuki, the greatest baseball player of all time, retires from MLB. The 45-year-old hailed from Japan and took the league by storm by winning rookie of the year at a late 27 years old. Playing for the Seattle Mariners, he was nicknamed the “True Hit King” and consistently put up big numbers. He was legendary for his discipline to the game and for taking care of his equipment like a chef takes care of his knives. Suzuki was the constant professional who didn’t care for the spotlight. He reminded me of Tim Duncan. Not much style but he got the wins, which is more important.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) March 21, 2019
On Thursday, in his native country of Japan, at the Tokyo Dome, Ichiro Suzuki played his last game. For his final game, Suzuki played for the Seattle Mariners, after he resigned with them in the offseason. They took on the Oakland Athletics and beat them 5-4, despite Ichiro going 0 and 4.
The crowd went crazy and cheered on Ichiro every time he came up to bat. They knew that this might be the last time he would hold a bat professionally. And after the game, he released a statement through the Mariners announcing his retirement, reports Yahoo.
“I have achieved so many of my dreams in baseball, both in my career in Japan and, since 2001, in Major League Baseball. I am 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. I want to thank not only the Mariners, but the Yankees and Marlins, for the opportunity to play in MLB, and I want to thank the fans in both the U.S. and Japan for all the support they have always given me.”
Ichiro didn’t want to retire this early. He wanted to play until he was fifty. He even joked, “When I start using a cane, that’s the time that I think I should retire,” he said, reports MLB. But time catches up to all legends to make immortals look mortal.
I’m not the biggest baseball fan, but ever since 2001, I’ve heard his name come up over and over again. According to MLB, he has a slash line of .311/.355/.402 in 2651 games. He has 3,089 hits, making him the 22nd highest hitter of all time. And he has the record for longest hit streak with 10 years straight of over 200 hits.
Legends on legends. pic.twitter.com/NKhPt27rK9
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) March 21, 2019
The Japanese American legend is a guaranteed MLB hall of famer. He may be done playing professionally, but he isn’t done with the sport. He will transition to office life for the Mariners and help young players reach their greatness.