Ichiro Suzuki isn't technically retiring, per se, but he's not going to be playing for the Seattle Mariners any more after transitioning to a front office role. Might Ichiro return for the team's opening series next season in Japan?
In the meantime, baseball fans and journalists paid tribute to Ichiro's illustrious career as word of the move spread.
For now, Ichiro Suzuki has played his last game for the Seattle Mariners.
Ichiro has spent parts of 13 seasons with the Mariners.
"With Ichiro's track record of success, his personality, his unique perspective and his work ethic, he is singularly positioned to impact both our younger players and the veterans in the clubhouse". He won a batting title, led the league in hits and stolen bases, won Rookie of the Year and MVP awards plus a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger.
"He's taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 has yet to evolve", agent John Boggs told The Athletic. In the team's second game of the season on March 31, Ichiro was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
"While this agreement only covers the 2018 season, it is our goal that Ichiro be a member of the Seattle organization long-term", Dipoto said in Seattle.
Now that his career is over, we can gauge where Ichiro ranks among the best players in Seattle Mariners history.
Even more impressive, when added to his hit total with Japan's Onix Blue Wave, Ichiro had 4,367 hits as a professional - more than Pete Rose's Major League record of 4,256. At 44, Suzuki is not the hitter nor speedster he once was, with just nine hits in 44 at-bats and zero stolen bases this season. He played his final game Wednesday night, a 3-2 loss to Oakland - a game in which James Paxton had 16 strikeouts before leaving the game after 7 innings holding a 2-0 lead.
He took Major League Baseball by storm in 2001. For two seasons Suzuki dominated Japan's pitcher-friendly Western League with Orix's farm team but was unable to earn regular playing time with Orix's first team in the Pacific League because his manager disapproved of his unorthodox batting style.
He also won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves and made 10 straight All-Star rosters.