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Mariners Icon Ichiro Suzuki Announces Retirement In Japan

Mariners Icon Ichiro Suzuki Announces Retirement In Japan

Laughing and joking as Ichiro was playing a game with coaches about where he could hit the ball.

Ichiro joined the Mariners just after the team had lost three of its four superstars (Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., and finally Alex Rodriguez; Edgar Martinez finished his career with the team).

Ichiro's teammates met him outside the dugout for a proper send-off in a three-minute tribute.

And one sign had the clearest message of all: "We Love You Ichiro".

This morning, we waved goodbye to one of the greatest players to ever set foot on a baseball field.

Ichiro has had a difficult spring, finding it hard to rebound after stepping aside last May to become a Mariners' front office assistant.

One of Major League Baseball's all-time greats chose to call it a career today, as Ichiro Suzuki announced his retirement. "I think everybody had a good time", Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.

But on Thursday night, a player who defined baseball at its very best on two continents for a generation, took his final swing.

He added, "I want to thank not only the Mariners, but the Yankees and Marlins, for the opportunity to play in Major League Baseball, and I want to thank the fans in both the USA and Japan for all the support they have always given me". "Nothing can top what happened tonight for me". It is the greatest gift for me to be able to spend time with him.

The stats speak for themselves: A.311 career batting average in 18 seasons, 10 gold gloves, 10-time All Star Game appearances, an MVP award in his rookie season - and that's just in America. I saw Ichiro chat with teammates as expected, but then I saw him help and teach.

Domingo Santana, who hit a grand slam in Seattle's 9-7 win in the opener Wednesday, beat out a double-play relay with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead run in the 12th. While that ended up not being the case, he gave Mariners fans quite the thrill in his last at-bat of the series, drilling a home run to send the crowd into a frenzy. 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. 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.

Mr. Suzuki once fired balls in anger at Ichiro, Whiting wrote, when he sat down on the field in protest of not being allowed to go play with friends. Media outlets had been speculating about whether he will be benched on March 28 at the USA opening game. "I couldn't play well enough in spring training to earn an extension".


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