In 1992, at just 18 years old, Ichiro Suzuki made his professional baseball debut in Japan. He spent the next nine years in his home country making a name for himself before Major League Baseball took notice. By signing with the Seattle Mariners, he became one of the first Japanese-born players on an American team.
On March 19, 2019, Suzuki returned to Japan to open the MLB season with the Mariners. His team swept the Oakland Athletics in the two-game series, but that wasn’t the big headline. After the game, Suzuki announced his retirement, ending his career where it began.
The legacy Suzuki leaves behind is massive. In MLB alone, he had career .311 batting average and over 3,000 hits. Taking his NPB numbers into account, you can add another 1,200 hits and nearly .40 points to his batting average. If anything is true, it’s this; he is as sure a first ballot Hall of Famer as there ever was.
As Ichiro left the stadium for the final time, he received a rousing standing ovation from the crowd. He may have left Japan when he was 27 years old, but at 45 he was just as popular as ever. We wonder will come next for one of the best right fielders to ever play the game.