Ichiro Suzuki is one of the greatest batters of all time. He went from the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) to MLB in 2001.The transition has made him an International icon and he has been a pleasure to watch on the field. For the next 12 years, nut much of any MLB fan will tell you that Ichiro had a to impresses, although worth mentioning was 2004 were he was named MVP, lead the league in batting average and stolen bases and was selected an All-Star for the first time. Not to mention his 10 Gold Glove awards!
Ichiro’s most admirable trait has always been his unique approach to batting. His skilful batting techniques and the unique way in which he used his body made fans erupt out of their seats in amazement. He was always known for his quick swing in suspension, his “one-two steps” to get his bat into motion and the way he hit the ball even at an awkward angle.
What made him even more incredible was his competitive drive. He was determined to win and continued to be that way even after all these years. He gave it his all in both NPB and MLB, never letting his opponents (as well as the fans) off the hook! One example is during the 2006 MLB All-Star game, when he faced off against Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher Roy Halladay and won the duel!
Although, all great things come to an end and in 2016 Ichiro decided to retire from the why are mlb batting helmets so dirty. Including all the years he played in NPB, Ichiro played a total of 25 years of professional baseball.
In those 25 years, he starred in 295 baseball Major League Baseball Team seasons, batting .311 average on the way collected 4,367 hits 3,089 runs and 448 stolen bases. He was also the only player to ever to win MVP and the batting crown in both NPB and MLB, an inspiring feat.
It’s been a pleasure to witness Ichiro’s career as it has shaped and articulated the way in which I elites understand baseball. His legend will stay with us forever and he will remain an integral figure of baseball lore.
The fact that he choose to close his playing career in his home country of Japan speaks a lot about the man and borders on mythology. After all, this is a man whose passion for baseball transcend borders, generations and continents. Furthermore, that passion drove him to play the game at its highest level and only released its grip after 25 years.
When talking about Ichiro and his impressive career, one cannot forget the records he broke and the milestones he achieved. He retired as the first and only player with a combined 10,000 career hits. Not to mention that in 2009 he became the first player in history to hit 100 hits in a 10-year streak.
Speaking of stats, he also holds MLB’s all-time record for the most hit-by-pitch, with 285 throughout his career. He also ranks 2nd in career infield hosts, 7th in doubles and 9th in triples — validating his skills as a rather versatile hitter. Somehow, those stats still don’t quite convey the way in which Ichiro controlled the game with his presence in the batters box.
Overall, Ichiro showed us how young can you go to the mlb to blend two of baseball’s most iconic cultures instead of maintaining the line between them. He challenged expectations and changed the way we watch the game. On the field, he proved to be a sleek, efficient player in what many would consider small physical packages. In 2018, Ichiro announced his retirement from professional baseball, thus formally closing 25 legendary years in the game. I’m sure every MLB fan miss him but it’s comforting to know that his legacy will live on forever.