Published: Thu, March 21, 2019
Sport | By

Ichiro Suzuki leaves field for last time

Ichiro Suzuki leaves field for last time

The future Hall of Famer was taken out of his final game in the bottom of the eighth inning of an eventual 12-inning Mariner victory to an enormous ovation and curtain call.

Suzuki caught the final out of the first inning as Kikuchi recorded a 1-2-3 frame and their countrymen responded with a crescendo of cheers.

"It was disappointing. We had our chances", A's manager Bob Melvin said. The 21-year-old was in the mix for a rotation spot. The Mariners announced Ichiro's intentions during the game.

Those two games this year mark his 28th season as a top tier professional baseball player in the United States and Japan. Yusei Kikuchi, who also is from Japan and played in the Nippon Professional League, made his MLB debut Thursday and was brought to tears as the 2001 American League MVP said goodbye.

Suzuki's 19-year Major League Baseball career included 12 seasons with the Mariners, three seasons as a New York Yankee, and three seasons with the Miami Marlins. Because Seattle's three-game April series in Cleveland was snowed out, Major League Baseball had Ichiro's crew endure three separate return trips on off days during the season to make up the contests.


"He's been in the big leagues for 19 years and he's doing the same thing, representing not just the Seattle Mariners organization but also Japan and opening doors to that market", Pujols told the Japanese media in Tempe, Arizona. His success helped open the door for several other players that followed from Japan.

The 45-year-old Suzuki, who started in right field in both of the Mariners games this week at Tokyo Dome, has 3,089 hits over his career in Nippon Professional Baseball and the major leagues.

Speculation on Suzuki's retirement has been in full swing as of late as his numbers have dwindled over the years.

"I don't think it is an understatement to say that Ichiro has had a bigger impact on the way Americans view Japan that really any other single person", Jim Small, the Major League Baseball global vice-president, told Reuters before Ichiro's announcement.

What comes next for Suzuki is a good question. During the Spring Training, Suzuki has only managed two hits on 31 trips at-bat. 'But for me, he gave me the greatest gift that I can play with him'. "He said, 'No. Too much media'".

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