Ichiro Suzuki announces retirement following Mariners' opening series in Japan

Hideki Matsui was perhaps the next most notable Japanese superstar, but players like So Taguchi, Akinori Iwamura, Nori Aoki, and Munenori Kawasaki all made their big-league dreams a reality thanks to Ichiro's journey. Ichiro is a no doubt lock to be an inductee in Cooperstown in the near future. 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 Major League Baseball career.

"We certainly want to give him an opportunity to go out and play, but we also want to get some other guys in the game", Servais said.

Plus this stat from MLB.com compares Ichiro's success in the lead-off spot compared to Rickey Henderson and Pete Rose. Although the process has evolved, at the time of Ichiro's move to the United States MLB teams would issue competitive bids for compensation to the Japanese teams who held the rights to the player. The Mariners announced Ichiro's intentions during the game. In just the second game of the season, he went over the wall in left field to rob Cleveland's Jose Ramirez of a home run. Ichiro drew a huge ovation from fans and teammates when he was pulled from right field in the bottom of the eighth inning.

So, it's understandable that Ichiro would have his own misgivings about making yet another visit to the shores of Lake Erie.

As of this morning, it appears that Ichiro has played his final major league game.

"When I look back on my career, I know I will remember today as the most memorable day, without a doubt".

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"After 28 years in professional baseball, it was unbelievable to go out on a note like this", added Ichiro, a 10-time MLB All-Star. "But for me, he gave me the greatest gift that I can play with him". "It's frustrating to lose games, we'll regroup and get back into spring training mode and get back in the season", A's manager Bob Melvin said. There will never be another player like him, and there's only a matter of time before he's enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, to be forever memorialized for his impact on the game.

For a modern player Ichiro had an idiosyncratic profile, drawing few walks but hitting for a high average and showing lightning speed on the base paths.

From baseball fans everywhere, thank you, Ichiro.

Yusei Kikuchi, the Japanese rookie pitcher who started the game in his big league debut, openly broke down crying when he embraced Ichiro.

He set the all-time single-season record with 262 hits in 2004 and had 10 seasons with at least 200 hits.

When Ichiro was done hitting (he was the last one on the field) he headed for the dugout.

  • Lawrence Cooper