In one of his final games ever, an exhibition against the Yomiuri Giants in the Tokyo Dome ahead of Seattle's two-game 2019 season-opening series against Oakland, Ichiro uncorked one last laser of a throw from right field to keep a runner from advancing from second base to third.
"You don't want to come here and lose two games, but we'll regoup and take a few days off", he said. In 2016, he recorded his 4,257th hit, breaking Rose's all-time mark as a member of the Miami Marlins with whom he spent three seasons from 2015 to 2017.
But his 2-for-28 Spring Training performance is a further reminder that time waits for no man - or professional baseball player. Former Oakland Athletics outfielder Terrence Long discovered this fact just a few weeks into Ichiro's Major League Baseball career, when Ichiro gunned down Long at third base with a throw so handsome that the video of it, along with the call by legendary broadcaster Dave Niehaus, could have won an Oscar. Ichiro was the Rookie of the Year and the MVP, beginning his unprecedented run among baseball's elite. The action in Tokyo marked the first time Ichiro had played since last May when he moved from the Mariners' roster to a role in the team's front office. That season, he recorded 262 hits, an Major League Baseball record that may never be broken. He had 1,278 more hits in nine seasons in Japan before coming to the United States.
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Suzuki is a living legend, considered one of the greatest baseball players to ever don a uniform - a 10-time All Star in the majors, a 10-time Gold Glove victor, and a 3-time Silver Slugger. Whether he wants to accept the label or not, Suzuki was a trailblazer. 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. Past year marked the arrival of two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani. "He had a chance to play in his home country where they've seen him grow up. So I hate the word success", Ichiro told reporters.
The conclusion to Suzuki's career was speculated about since the games in Japan were announced last season.
But it was time for Suzuki to step away.
Los Angeles Angels superstar Albert Pujols, who made his MLB debut the same day as Ichiro in 2001 and is also considered a sure thing to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot, recently talked about Suzuki's impact. If they did, Ichiro would be hitting.065. "But I think my wife - who always makes me rice balls before games - said she made 2,800 rice balls".