In Japan, Ichiro retires where career began

by Leon Thompson March 24, 2019, 1:56
In Japan, Ichiro retires where career began

Ichiro Suzuki announced his retirement Thursday after his final game with the Seattle Mariners, played in the country where he started his 27-year career.

Ichiro wanted to continue playing until he was 50, but with a young Mariners team on the rise, the 45-year-old knew his time in the Major League Baseball was coming to an end. He got a chance at a storybook ending at the jammed Tokyo Dome when he came up with two outs, a runner on second base and a tie score in the eighth inning, but grounded out.

Ichiro got an emotional sendoff before the bottom of the eighth as the game stopped for several minutes.

One of Major League Baseball's all-time greats made a decision to call it a career today, as Ichiro Suzuki announced his retirement.

Ichiro was showered with cheers and chants while taking his final bow, and the Mariners sent him out with a win by beating the Oakland Athletics 5-4 in 12 innings.

There's nothing like baseball. While it is probably fair to attribute their success to Hideo Nomo, numerous new Japanese arms, including Hisashi Iwakuma, Yu Darvish,Masahiro Tanaka, and of course Shohei Ohtani, have mentioned Ichiro as a major influence on their journey to the big leagues.

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In addition to the Mariners, Ichiro, a 10-time All-Star, played for the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins in his Major League Baseball career. Led by Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., MLB now features record levels of labor peace, competitive balance and industry revenues, as well as the most comprehensive drug-testing program in American professional sports. He received a hug from another Mariners legend, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. No Japanese position player had ever been signed by an Major League Baseball club before Ichiro, and even his own manager Lou Piniella tempered expectations, saying he would be happy if Ichiro hit.270 or.280. I saw Ichiro chat with teammates as expected, but then I saw him help and teach. Eighteen years ago it was Ichiro in the same position, a big star back in Japan, but a rookie having to plot his own way in the big leagues. As the game slogged into extra innings, Ichiro was removed and treated to an incredible standing ovation.

Ichiro Suzuki will go down as one of baseball's greatest players.

Some people may forget that before Ichiro returned to finish his career with the Mariners, he spent time with the Florida Marlins.

There was still the rest of a game to play, but his career was done. He has three 100-RBI campaigns and has batted.300 or better three times since 2013. "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.

Suzuki, who was set to hold a post-game press conference, went 0-for-4, with the applause growing in intensity each time up. Media outlets had been speculating about whether he will be benched on March 28 at the United States opening game.

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