The newly-retired Ichiro Suzuki will have to wait to be eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame of another five years.
On Thursday, before his adoring fans in Tokyo, Ichiro retired. It was a moment that brought tears to his teammates and caused an outporing of emotion from those in the stands.
And for good reason. The Seattle Mariners star was one of baseball’s best players for more than a decade. From historical accomplishments to the lighter side of the sport, Ichiro is one of the more entertaining players to take the field playing America’s pastime.
A look at his career hightlights:
“The first hit”
Ichiro’s first hit off of Oakland’s TJ Matthews. After starting off the game 0-fo- 3, Suzuki puts one up the middle for the first of what would be over 3,000 hits in his storied MLB career.
There is no better way to announce your arrival into the majors than a “did he just do that” type-defensive play, nailing the A’s Terrance Long sliding into third base with a deep throw from right field.
A historic rookie season
In 2001, Suzuki joined Fred Lynn as the only players to win the AL MVP and AL Rookie of the year. Ichiro started and even led off for the American League squad in his home stadium of Safeco Field.
Ichiro breaks George Sisler’s record for hits in a single season
For all of the great hitters in MLB history, none of them could touch George Sisler’s record of 257 hit mark set in 1920. Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew, not one of them could reach that mark. However, Ichiro did; In 2009, Ichiro visited the grave of Sisler while in St. Louis for the 2009 All-Star Game as a return gesture to the Sisler family who traveled to see him break the record in 2004.
Inside the park home run in the 2007 All-Star Game
Suzuki became the first and only player to ever hit an inside-the-park home run in the All-Star Game.
Ichiro hits game-winner off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera
The best closer ever against one of the best hitters ever, with the game on the line? Sign me up. Although Rivera has a record 652 saves for his career, it was Suzuki who got the best of him on this night.
Ichiro’s 4,000th career hit
Having played in both Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball (Japan’s version of MLB), Ichiro collected more than 4,000 hits in his career. Her is hit No. 4,000 vs. the Toronto Blue Jays on August 21, 2013.
We’ve seen him hit some inside the park homers but rarely have we seen an Ichiro walk-off home run. In 2013, against the Rangers he did just that in a 4-3 victory.
Ichiro, the pitcher?
Some people may forget that before Ichiro returned to finish his career with the Mariners, he spent time with the Florida Marlins. In a game vs. the Philadelphia Phillies, he took the mound and pitched because that’s what you let legends do!
Ichiro pillow fight with the Rangers mascot
I mean, who doesn’t want to get in a pillow fight with a mascot?