By: Noah Wright
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The Mariners have announced that future hall of fame outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki (now 44 years old), will join the team’s front office as a special assistant to The Mariners’ Chairman. Ichiro had rejoined The Mariners on a minor league deal, as a homecoming to his career. On the 2018 season, Ichiro struggled, as he batted just .205/.255/.205, but fans were able to see a few final glimpses of his former self with the glove, when he robbed Indian’s Jose Ramirez of a home run in April.
If Ichiro decides to retire from playing the game, he will finish off a legendary career that started in 1992, with The Japan Pacific League Orix Blue Waves, when Ichiro was 18. This started a 9 season run with The Blue Waves, in which he hit .353 with 118 homeruns, and 199 stolen bases (951 games); showing both power, speed, great defense, and an even better arm. After the 2000 season, The Mariners purchased Ichiro’s contract from The Blue Waves. In his first year in 2001, at 27 years old, Ichiro exceed expectations by a large margin; by batting a league leading .351, and a fantastic .381 OBP/.457 slugging %, while having 8 homers, and 69 RBI’s in 738 PA’s. He also led the league in stolen bases with 56, and earned a much deserved Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. To top off his rookie season, he won Rookie Of The Year, AND MVP in the same season, the second player to do so since Fred Lynn in 1975. In 2004, Ichiro would have his best season of his career. This season was highlighted by a league leading, and season record, 262 hits, and a .372/.418/.455 slash line (the OBP and average being a career high) in 762 PA’s. He also continued to show his defensive prowess with 12 outfield assists, 30 DRS, 2.5 defensive WAR, and 20.4 UZR. Ichiro would continue to be a threat with the bat, and glove, even until his trade to The New York Yankees in 2012. The legendary outfielder would reach another milestone on August 21st, 2013; when he got his 4000th baseball hit (MLB and Pacific league combined). He would play with The Yankees until 2014. After 2014, Ichiro signed with The Miami Marlins, from 2015 to 2017. June 16th would mark another large milestone in Ichiro’s career, as he topped Pete Rose for the most hits (Pacific League and MLB combined). On August 7th, 2016; at 42 years of age; Ichiro would get his 3000th MLB hit, a triple that cemented himself into a first ballot Hall Of Fame Candidate.
Now 27 seasons, and 4367 hits later (1278 in Japan, 3089 in US), Ichiro’s career looks to be coming to an end. In total, Ichiro Suzuki will finish with a MLB slash line of .311/.355/.402, 646 stolen bases, 117 homeruns, an MVP, Rookie Of The Year, 2 silver sluggers, 10 Gold Gloves, 10 all star game appearances, 10 straight seasons with 200+ hits per seasons, and a career 59.4 WAR. (totals with MLB+Pacific League: .322/.373/.434, 235 homeruns, 708 stolen bases, 4367 hits). If this is the end of Ichiro’s playing career, we wish him the best in his post playing career.